Soviet leader Yuri Andropov was reported by Finnish sources today to have appeared "weak and unsteady" during his meetings yesterday with visiting Finnish President Mauno Koivisto.
The sources said that during the Kremlin dinner last night Andropov was helped in and out of his chair and that he read his dinner speech sitting down.
The sources said the Soviet leader, who will be 69 next Wednesday, did not appear sick but rather physically weak and that the normal routine at state dinners was changed to permit him to conserve his energy.
However, Andropov held an unscheduled meeting today with Koivisto that lasted almost an hour and observers suggested that the session--which Andropov could have avoided if he was ill--indicated that his apparent weakness yesterday may have been temporary.
Andropov was hospitalized last March with a chronic kidney ailment and was absent from public view for almost two weeks. Since then, he was reported to have been ordered by doctors to slow down his work pace.
The Soviet leader appeared to be in good form during a recent Kremlin funeral when he was seen in public for nearly 90 minutes. Pictures shown on Moscow television of his meeting with Koivisto today also suggested that Andropov was fit.
Finnish sources who were present in the Kremlin yesterday said Andropov's hands were trembling and that his movements were "slow and deliberate."
Finnish journalists accompanying Koivisto said they did not want to focus on Andropov's apparent weakness in their dispatches, presumably because Finnish political leaders do not want to mar Koivisto's visit. During it the two leaders extended for another 20 years the Soviet-Finnish treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance.