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A senior Kremlin official confirmed Wednesday to the Russian paper Kommersant that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did indeed make a clandestine trip to Russia on Monday.
Commenting on the visit, the official said that "this kind of development could only be related to new and threatening information on Iran's nuclear program."
The Russian newspaper quoted experts speculating that such a trip would only be justified under extraordinary circumstances, "for example, in the case of Israel planning to attack Iran."
The report comes despite a statement Wednesday from the Kremlin press service that "nothing is known" about reports of the visit. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, also said he had no information, the Interfax news agency reported.
Nevertheless, there was never any official denial of the report from Moscow.
On Wednesday night, the Prime Minister's Office appeared to stick to its original version of events: that Netanyahu was occupied with "secret and classified activities" during his unexplained absence of over 12 hours.
Netanyahu's spokesmen referred reporters back to the statement issued Monday evening amid a swirl of rumors that Netanyahu had gone abroad.
That statement, oddly released in the name of Kalifi and not in the name of spokesman Nir Hefetz, said, "The prime minister is visiting a security installation in Israel today."