Russia and the United States could reach a compromise to end their long-simmering dispute over the Obama administration's deployment of ballistic missile defenses in Europe, the Moscow Times reported on Tuesday.
Unidentified insiders from the two states said in a Kommersant report that President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin could swap statements pledging to collaborate on the European missile shield and to ensure it is not turned against their respective nations.
Other components of an agreement could encompass data swaps, shared research and additional "confidence-building" steps.
The matter could be on the agenda for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's meeting on Tuesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Moscow and Washington have sought since late 2010 to agree on a way forward for collaboration on U.S. deployment around Europe of land- and sea-based missile interceptors and associated technology. Russian leaders say the developing antimissile web could threaten its strategic nuclear forces; U.S. officials say there is no cause for such worry and that the shield being established with NATO partners is aimed at countering Iranian ballistic missiles.
A deal between the presidents could be sealed without authorization from Congress, where Republican lawmakers have criticized Obama for seeking additional nuclear arms cuts and missile defense compromise with Russia.
Lavrov on Tuesday dismissed the potential for the type of deal cited by Kommersant, Voice of Russia reported.
"I have read these reports and talked with their authors. I don't know the author's sources, but there are no grounds for such reports whatsoever. I don't know where this information came from," Lavrov said after his talks with Kerry in Berlin.