Swedish PM refuses to speculate during 'solidarity' visit

New Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven made a whirlwind gastronomic tour of the Baltic states Tuesday, stopping off in Tallinn for breakfast, Vilnius for lunch and Riga for dinner.

Meeting the neighbors while efforts continue off Stockholm to locate and identify a suspected underwater intruder, Lofven repeatedly batted away journalists' questions about what some believe to be a stricken Russian submarine, saying it was "too early to speculate."

Speaking to reporters after meeting students and faculty at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Lofven said: "It's very difficult to search huge areas of water that you have to cover so it's not an easy task to do that. The Defense Force is doing its best. It's a professional job it's doing, but it's very difficult."

"You cannot speculate. We have given the Defense Force the task of trying to find out what it is and if we don't have an answer we cannot speculate," he told journalists intent on trying to make him speculate.

We have given the Defense Force the task of trying to find out what it is and if we don't have an answer we cannot speculate"

As to the reasons for his Baltic visit, Lofven was clear: "One of the reasons I wanted to make it a priority to go to the Baltic states is it's a tradition that a newly elected Swedish prime minister goes first to Finland, but when that was decided I also wanted a priority to visit the three Baltic countries and that is due to what has happened in Ukraine because I fully respect the reactions within the three Baltic countries, that they feel their security is threatened by that as well. Due to their history it's natural they feel that way. It was important fr Sweden to show solidarity at this time."

"We've been very clear about Russia's activities, not least in Ukraine and we stand very firm on the position that we have in the European Union that we have the same position when it comes to sanctions and Russia needs to make a change on the ground in Ukraine," Lofven said before his dinner date with Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma.

 

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