Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is seriously injured after an “attempted assassination” | International

The Slovak Prime Minister, the populist Robert Fico, was injured after suffering an “attempted murder” last Wednesday, as confirmed to Reuters by an Interior Ministry spokesperson. The government has reported that the leader's life is in danger. Fico was transferred by helicopter from Handlová, where the shooting took place, to Banská Bystrica in a very serious condition, “because it would take too long to reach Bratislava, given the need for critical intervention,” a government statement said. “The next few hours will be decisive,” the text adds.

Sources from Handlová Hospital, where he was initially treated, have assured that the leader was conscious when he arrived at the health center in the city, about 200 kilometers northeast of Bratislava. The same sources stated that after treating him for gunshot wounds and stabilizing his vital functions, Fico was transferred to another hospital at a higher level.

According to the local media's preliminary report, three shots were heard in front of the Handlová House of Culture. The Prime Minister fell to the ground and was taken to a vehicle to be evacuated from the scene and taken to hospital. The leader had emerged from a government meeting to greet people when the shots were fired, the newspaper said Dennikn. “I took pictures of him as he left the building; We were excited, we wanted to shake his hand (…). And at that moment we heard something like an explosion, we thought someone was playing a prank and had thrown a firecracker on the ground,” one woman told Reuters.

The Slovak Emergency Medical Service's operations center reported that it had received information via its emergency line shortly after 2:30 PM about a man injured by a shot in Handlová. “We sent a rescue helicopter to the 59-year-old patient. The intervention is still ongoing,” he added. After the attacker was arrested at the scene of the attack, police cordoned off the area and cleared the cultural center.

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Fico returned to power in Slovakia after the September 30 parliamentary elections with a pro-Russian and anti-Western message. In 2018, he was forced to resign as Prime Minister following the resulting protests the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his partner Martina Kusnirovawhen the reporter investigated links between people close to Smer, his party and the Italian mafia, as well as government corruption scandals.

The country's president, Zuzana Caputová, in regular confrontations with Fico, has strongly condemned the attack, calling it “brazen and reckless.” “I am shocked. I wish Robert Fico much strength to recover from the attack at this critical moment,” he wrote on the social network X.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen immediately condemned the “despicable attack” on Fico. “These types of acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine our democracy, which is our most precious common interest,” he said via X. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has declared himself stunned by an attack that cannot be justified . , he said on the same social network. “Nothing can ever justify violence or attacks like this,” he stressed, joining Von der Leyen in expressing his support for Fico and his family.

Leaders such as Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk have also used this social network. “Shocking news from Slovakia. “Robert, my thoughts are with you at this very difficult time.” The head of the Czech government, Petr Fiala, also wished him a speedy recovery. “I am deeply shocked by the horrific attack on my friend, Prime Minister Robert Fico,” his closest ally in the EU, Hungarian Viktor Orbán, also wrote in X.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico arriving at the cabinet meeting outside his home in the town of Handlova, Slovakia, next Wednesday, May 15, 2024.
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico arriving at the cabinet meeting outside his home in the town of Handlova, Slovakia, next Wednesday, May 15, 2024. Radovan Stoklasa (AP/LaPresse)

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