'Missing' Netanyahu Made Secret Trip to Russia

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a secret trip to Russia, a deputy prime minister confirmed on Saturday, but declined to give specific information on the mission.

"He was in Russia. It created some controversy about the way it was published in Israel," Dan Meridor told Reuters while in Geneva for an international conference.

"The content was not discussed in public. Some things are better discussed (privately)," Meridor told Reuters.

Israel has expressed concern in the past over the possible sale of air defense missiles from Russia to Iran. The anti-aircraft missiles could potentially protect Iran nuclear facilities if Israel were to launch air strikes.

Israeli reporters had called Netanyahu's office last Monday to inquire about the Prime Minister's whereabouts, and were told by his office that he was on a “military trip,” visiting a security installation in Israel.

Then on Wednesday, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Netanyahu had, in fact, flown secretly to Moscow to discuss Israel's concern over the possible sale of Russian anti-aircraft missiles to Iran.

Reports of the Moscow visit came just after the interception of a cargo ship off West Africa last month by Russian warships. Media reports, denied by Russia, stated that the cargo ship the Arctic Sea was carrying S-300 missiles to Iran, and that they had been detected by Israel.