Israeli diplomat leaves Russia

MOSCOW: An Israeli diplomat in Russia has been accused of being involved in unlawful activities and has left Moscow, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday.

Diplomat Shmuel Polishuk was briefly detained by authorities on Sept. 24 and left Russia, spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said, without saying the offense Polishuk was accused of.

"We hope that this regrettable incident wouldn't affect the Russian-Israeli relations," Nesterenko told a briefing.

Israeli Embassy spokesman Alex Goldman Shayman said the reasons for Polishuk's departure were connected to "reasons of administrative nature." He didn't elaborate, but added that Russia and Israel are working to solve what he called a misunderstanding.

He said Polishuk wasn't declared persona non grata, and he dismissed Israeli media allegations that the diplomat was expelled on espionage charges.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor also emphasized that Polishuk wasn't expelled from Russia.

"This is an administrative matter," he said in a statement. "It is being dealt with by both foreign ministries in good spirits and we hope the matter will be resolved quickly."