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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico Shot, in Life-Threatening Condition


“When the shots rang out, I almost went deaf,” a woman said.

Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, was shot Wednesday following a government meeting, according to his office.

A reporter with TASR said that several shots were fired at Mr. Fico near a cultural house in Handlova, located in central Slovakia, and an assailant was detained. The individual’s identity was not disclosed.

The Emergency Medical Service Operation Center told TASR that Mr. Fico’s condition is currently not known. However, according to the prime minister’s social media profile, he’s in life-threatening condition.

Emergency services said a helicopter had been sent for a 59-year-old man in Handlova after receiving information that he had been shot, officials told the agency.

“When the shots rang out, I almost went deaf,” a woman, who declined to give her name, told local media. Mr. Fico, 59, to the ground after being shot and suffered injuries to his chest and head, she said, adding that three or four shots rang out.

A video that was apparently shot at the scene showed Mr. Fico’s security team taking him into a black car.

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Outgoing Slovak President Zuzana Caputova strongly condemned the attack on Mr. Fico, saying in a statement that she is “shocked” and wishes him “strength at this critical moment to recover from the attack.

“I am appalled at where hatred for a different political opinion can lead. We don’t have to agree with everything, but there are many ways to express our disagreement democratically and legally.”

President-elect Peter Pellegrini, meanwhile, wrote that he wishes “the prime minister a speedy recovery,” adding that the “senseless and brutal act becomes the target of general condemnation.”

“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!” wrote Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, sometimes described as an ally of Mr. Fico in the European Union.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk wrote: “Shocking news from Slovakia. Robert, my thoughts are with you in this very difficult moment.”
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, condemned what she described as a disturbing attack on Mr. Fico.

“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,” she wrote on social media.

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico walks during the European Council summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on April 18, 2024. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images)
Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico walks during the European Council summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on April 18, 2024. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images)

During a three-decade career, Mr. Fico first joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in 1986 before joining a successor to the party in 1996. A member of Slovakia’s center-left, he has moved between the pro-European mainstream and nationalistic positions opposed to European Union and U.S. policies. He has also shown a willingness to change course depending on public opinion or changed political realities.

Following the shooting, Slovakia’s biggest opposition party called off a planned protest against government public broadcaster reforms set for Wednesday evening.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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