Slovakia

Slovak prime minister survives surgery after assassination attempt: As it happened

Author: Editors Desk Source: CNN:::
May 15, 2024 at 10:29
Security officers move Slovak PM Robert Fico in a car after the shooting incident in Handlova on May 15, 2024. Radovan Stoklasa/Reuters
Security officers move Slovak PM Robert Fico in a car after the shooting incident in Handlova on May 15, 2024. Radovan Stoklasa/Reuters

CNN — Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot multiple times after a government meeting and is in a life-threatening condition, according to a statement posted on his official Facebook page.

The Slovak leader was transported to hospital in Banska Bystrica, according to the statement.

The town of Handlova, where the shooting took place, is about two hours’ drive from the capital Bratislava. The government was in the town for an off-site meeting.Several shots were fired at Fico, according to TASR news agency. Slovakia’s emergency medical service said it sent a helicopter ambulance to the scene.

 

Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová condemned what she called a “brutal and reckless” attack on the 59-year-old politician. “I’m shocked. I wish Roberto Fico all the strength in this critical moment to recover from the attack,” Čaputová wrote on Facebook.

Fico won a third term as Slovakian prime minister last October after running a campaign that criticized western support for Ukraine. Ahead of the election, Fico made no secret of his sympathies towards the Kremlin and blamed “Ukrainian Nazis and fascists” for provoking Vladimir Putin into launching the invasion, repeating the false narrative Russia’s president has used to justify his invasion.

While in opposition, Fico became a close ally of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, especially when it came to criticism of the European Union.

 

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico attends a European Council summit in Brussels, on April 18, 2024.
Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico attends a European Council summit in Brussels, on April 18, 2024. 
Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images/FILE
 
 

Fico previously served as Slovakia’s prime minister for more than a decade, first between 2006 and 2010 and then again from 2012 to 2018. He was forced to resign in March 2018 after weeks of mass protests over the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová. Kuciak reported on corruption among the country’s elite, including people directly connected to Fico and his party SMER.

European leaders immediately condemned the attack. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, tweeted: “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.”

And Hungarian Prime Minister Orban added: “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!”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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