Robert Fico: Slovak PM Robert Fico in ‘life-threatening condition’ afte...

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Published Time: 15.05.2024 - 18:19:22 Modified Time: 15.05.2024 - 18:19:22

Local media reported the premier was shot several times and then rushed away by his security detail into a car. Robert Fico, slovakia

The precise nature of Fico’s injuries is not known, with conflicting reports emerging from local media.

The attempted assassination on Wednesday followed a government meeting in the town of Handlová, central Slovakia.

Local media reported the premier was shot several times and then rushed away by his security detail into a car.

A woman at the scene was cited by news outlet MNT.SK as saying that she had heard three or four shots, and saw Fico fall to the ground. A witness told he heard several shots and that a man had been detained by police.

The populist prime minister won a general election last September and has faced widespread criticism for polarizing in the central European nation with pro-Russian comments and a push to extend state control over the media.

There was an immediate outpouring of concern and condemnation from political leaders at the attack.

“Utterly shocked by today’s brutal and reckless attack on Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, which I condemn in strongest possible terms,” outgoing Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

“A physical attack on the Prime Minister is first of all an attack on a human being, but it is also an attack on democracy. Violence of any kind is unacceptable. The hateful rhetoric we see in society leads to hateful actions. Please, let’s stop it,” Čaputová added in a video statement on Facebook.

Michal Šimečka, an opposition leader, said he was “shocked and appalled” by the shooting.

“We unequivocally and strongly condemn any violence. We trust that Prime Minister Fico will be fine and that this terrible act will be brought to light as soon as possible,” Šimečka also said on X.

A video apparently filmed at the scene showed Fico’s security detail lifting him under the arms and loading him into the back of a black limousine.

Slovakia’s Parliament was informed of the attack and immediately suspended proceedings.

Well wishes for Fico poured in from world leaders who expressed their shock at the shooting.

U.S. President Joe Biden said he was “alarmed” to hear of the attack on Fico. “Jill and I are praying for a swift recovery, and our thoughts are with his family and the of Slovakia,” Biden said in a statement. “We condemn this horrific act of violence. Our embassy is in close touch with the government of Slovakia and ready to assist.”

In Europe, EU leaders condemned the attempted assassination of one of their own.

“I strongly condemn the vile attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico. Such acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine democracy, our most precious common good. My thoughts are with PM Fico, his family,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“I was deeply shocked by the heinous attack against my friend, Prime Minister Robert Fico. We pray for his health and quick recovery! God bless him and his country!” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, an ally of Fico in the European Council.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk added: “Shocking news from Slovakia. Robert, my thoughts are with you in this very difficult moment.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: “I am deeply shocked by the news of the cowardly attack on Slovakian Prime Minister Fico. Violence must not be existent in European .”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, often at odds with Fico over Russia, condemned the attack as “appalling.”

“Every effort should be made to ensure that violence does not become the norm in any country, form, or sphere,” Zelenskyy added.

This developing story is being updated.