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15 May, 2024 13:20

Slovak PM Fico shot

The politician was wounded after an assailant fired multiple shots
Slovak PM Fico shot

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico has been shot and wounded on Wednesday in the town of Handlova. Multiple shots were fired at the politician as he greeted the public after a government meeting.

Local media describe his condition as “serious” and “life threatening.” A post on Fico's Facebook page has warned that the “next few hours will be critical.”

The prime minister has been transported to a hospital in Banska Bystrica, a small city in the center of the country, because it would have taken too long to reach Bratislava, the statement added. An official from Fico’s Smer party has told the media that the prime minister was shot in the abdomen and is now undergoing surgery.

The shooting took place as Fico shook hands with members of the public outside a government building. The suspected gunman was detained at the scene, according to state news agency TASR.

The suspected gunman – believed to be a Slovakian of pension age, according to reports – was detained at the scene, the state news agency TASR has reported. Video footage purportedly shows officers pinning the attacker to the ground after the incident. 

President Zuzana Caputova condemned the “brutal and reckless” attack on Fico, and wished the PM “a lot of strength at this critical moment.” 

Fico took office in October 2023, after serving two stints as prime minister from 2006 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2018. Fico immediately halted the previous government’s policy of military aid to Ukraine and called for a negotiated settlement between Moscow and Kiev. His neutral stance on the conflict has seen him clash with Brussels, and with pro-Western figures within Slovakia such as Caputova.