Slovakia’s Prime Minister in ‘Life-Threatening Condition’ After Shooting Attack

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Robert Fico, the populist prime minister of Slovakia, was shot several times in an assassination attempt Wednesday that left him in “life-threatening condition,” officials say.

The 59-year-old politician was meeting with supporters in the central Slovak town of Handlova when he was attacked, according to local media reports. A post on Fico’s official Facebook page suggested he may not survive his injuries. “The next few hours will decide,” the post read.

The update also said he was being transported by helicopter to the city of Banská Bystrica instead of the capital, Bratislava, “due to the necessity of an acute procedure.”

A spokesperson for Slovakia’s Interior Ministry confirmed the shooting was an assassination attempt. Slovakian TV station TA3 reports that a suspect has been detained. A motive for the attack is not yet clear.

Unverified videos circulating online appear to show a man being restrained on the ground. Earlier in the footage, men in suits appear to carry the wounded Fico into the back a black car.

Fico, the longest-serving prime minister of Slovakia, won his latest term in national elections last fall. He leads the left-wing party he founded, Smer, or “Direction,” in a populist-nationalist coalition.

Fico has previously advocated for pro-EU causes but critics fear his more recent positions—which included campaigning on anti-American and pro-Russian messages—will cause Slovakia to be led down a similar path to that taken by Hungary under Viktor Orbán, a man for whom Fico has expressed admiration.

“I was deeply shocked by the heinous attack against my friend, Prime Minister Robert Fico,” Orbán wrote in a post on X. “We pray for his health and quick recovery! God bless him and his country!”

The sentiments were shared by several other European leaders, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Fico, who has vowed to stop sending military aid to Kyiv, was the victim of an “appalling” attack, Zelensky said.

“We strongly condemn this act of violence against our neighboring partner state’s head of government,” he added. “Every effort should be made to ensure that violence does not become the norm in any country, form, or sphere.”

In the wake of the assault, Slovakia’s major opposition parties called off a scheduled protest against a divisive plan that critics say would hand full control of public TV and radio stations to the government.

“We absolutely and strongly condemn violence and today’s shooting of Premier Robert Fico,” Progressive Slovakia leader Michal Simecka wrote in a post on X announcing the protest’s cancellation. “At the same time we call on all politicians to refrain from any expressions and steps which could contribute to further increasing the tension.”

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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