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13:09 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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U.S. Denies Disclosing Missile Defense Data to Russia

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The U.S. has never provided Russia with secret information concerning the deployment of its missile shield elements in Europe

The U.S. has never provided Russia with secret information concerning the deployment of its missile shield elements in Europe, a high-ranking U.S. Department of State official told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

“No classified missile defense information was provided to Russia,” the source said.

Earlier this month media reports said that the United States allegedly planned to share with Russia unspecified “secret data,” presumably on the SM-3 rocket, which is to become the staple interceptor rocket of the U.S. missile shield by 2020.

U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Victoria Nuland refused to comment on the reports that the secret data was handed over to Moscow during Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense Ellen Tauscher’s visit to Moscow on March 13-15.

“Missile defense cooperation was one of the issues discussed at the meeting,” the State Department official said. “I’m not going to go into the specifics of the discussions. I’ll just say that we are committed to pursuing missile defense cooperation with Russia and are continuing discussions.”

It is not yet clear exactly which data may be disclosed to Russia, which has for years strongly opposed American plans to deploy a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, including Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic.

The White House insists the program is aimed against a potential threat from rogue states such as Iran and North Korea but Russia says its own missiles will also fall under the shield, destroying the nuclear balance that existed since the Cold War.

In November, news leaked that the White House was in secret talks with Russia about providing it with information on the velocity burnout of the modified version of the SM-3 rocket, which is to become the staple interceptor rocket of the U.S. missile shield by 2020. However, the U.S. administration denied at the time that it proposed to disclose the data on the rocket’s crucial parameter to Moscow.

Experts say the speed of interceptor rockets is the only thing the Russian military needs to know to determine whether the U.S. missile shield really poses a risk to Russian rockets.