Snowden case not to affect US-Russia talks

Updated: 2013-08-15 03:46


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MOSCOW - Situation around US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden did not affect Russia-US talks over anti-missile defense, a senior Russian military official said Wednesday.

"I did not feel the problem of Snowden affected the talks on anti-missile defense," Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters.

He said the defense ministries did not play politics but focused on military-technical aspects of missile defense and conventional arms control.

"I am sure that (US Secretary of Defense Chuck) Hagel has been tuned for a pragmatic cooperation with Russia," Antonov said.

Still, according to Antonov, situation around Snowden "was in the air" during the recent "2+2" meeting of the US and Russian foreign and defense ministers in Washington.

"That issue was discussed during our meetings," the RIA Novosti news agency quoted him as saying.

Russia has granted Snowden a one-year asylum after he leaked a classified US surveillance program code-named PRISM.

In retaliation, US President Barack Obama canceled his planned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month, citing little progress expected on key issues between the two nations.

Antonov also admitted that no progress in the anti-missile defense talks has been achieved.

"So far, there is no visible solution of that problem," he said, adding that Russia thoroughly followed the deployment of anti-missile defense systems in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Moscow has opposed the deployment of US-led European missile defense facilities near its border and has called for legally binding guarantees from Washington and NATO that the missile shield will not target Russia.