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Business News/ News / World/  Robert Fico, Slovakian PM, shot multiple times in assassination attempt; 'poet' held

Robert Fico, Slovakian PM, shot multiple times in assassination attempt; 'poet' held

Robert Fico shot: The Slovakia prime minister was shot several times and is currently in a life-threatening condition, said an official statement on Wednesday. The accused was identified as a 71-year-old “poet”.

A person is detained after shooting incident of Slovak PM Robert Fico, after a Slovak government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia, May 15, 2024.

Slovakia’s populist Prime Minister Robert Fico was injured in a shooting incident and was taken to a hospital, media reports claimed. He “is in life-threatening condition after being shot multiple times," his Facebook profile read.

The individual, who attempted to “assassinate" PM Robert Fico, was identified by Slovakian media as Juraj Cintula, a 71-year-old poet. European media Nexta cited Slovak media as reporting that "the attacker was a former employee of a private security company and author of a poetry collection Juraj Cintula. This is reported by local TV channel Markiza."

Fico was reportedly hit in the stomach after four shots were fired outside the House of Culture in the town of Handlova, where the leader held a meeting. “A suspect has been detained," a report said, adding, further informing that police sealed off the scene.

Slovak PM Robert Fico shot after a Slovak government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia, May 15, 2024

An official message on the prime minister's Facebook page read, “Today an attempt was made on R. Fico's life. He was shot several times and is currently in a life-threatening condition. At the moment, he is being taken by helicopter to Banská Bystrica, as the road to Bratislava would take too long due to the need for urgent surgery. The next few hours will be crucial."

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Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia Juraj Blanár also confirmed the news, informing that a "violent attempt on life of the Slovak PM Robert Fico took place" on Wednesday. "While grateful for all the solidarity & support expressed, his thoughts are with the PM," the Slovakia government said.

According to preliminary information from Slovak media, Fico was shot multiple times. "One to the abdomen, one to the head," Eastern European media NEXTA said in the post.

In a widely circulated video, security officers could be seen rushing to move the Slovak PM in a car after he was injured. The shooting incident reportedly happened after a Slovak government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia on Wednesday, May 15.

The shooting in Slovakia came three weeks ahead of crucial European Parliament elections, in which populist and hard-right parties in the 27-nation bloc appear poised to make gains.

Deputy speaker of parliament Lubos Blaha confirmed the incident during a session of Parliament and adjourned it until further notice, the Slovak TASR news agency said.

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President of the Slovak Republic Zuzana Caputova condemned “a brutal and ruthless" attack on the premier. “I'm shocked," Caputova said. “I wish Robert Fico a lot of strength in this critical moment and a quick recovery from this attack," she added.

Other leaders react

Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said he was "deeply shocked by the heinous attack against" his "friend, Prime Minister Robert Fico". He prayed for his health and quick recovery. "God bless him and his country," he said in a post on X.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala called the incident “shocking," adding “I wish the premier to get well soon. We cannot tolerate violence, there's no place for it in society." The Czech Republic and Slovakia formed Czechoslovakia till 1992.

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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk wrote on the social media network X: “Shocking news from Slovakia. Robert, my thoughts are with you in this very difficult moment."

Who is Robert Fico?

Robert Fico is a third-time premier and believed to be a divisive fugured is “pro-Russia". His leftist Smer, or Direction, party, won Slovakia's parliamentary elections on September 30 last year.

According to the Associate Press, Fico's win staged his political comeback after campaigning on a pro-Russian and anti-American message. His election victory last autumn “meant NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] also had its first leader who was sympathetic to Russia's Vladimir Putin", Sky news reported.

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“The prime minister has previously opposed EU sanctions on Russia – and has been against Ukraine joining NATO. He believes the US and other nations should use their influence to force Russia and Ukraine to strike a compromise peace deal," the report added.

Notably, Slovakia is part of NATO and had joined the group in 2004.

Critics worried Slovakia under Fico would abandon the country's pro-Western course and follow the direction of Hungary under populist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Thousands have repeatedly rallied in the capital and across Slovakia to protest Fico's policies.

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