Here’s the latest on the shooting of the Slovak prime minister.

Here’s the latest on the shooting of the Slovak prime minister.

Cassandra VinogradPavol Strba

Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, was shot and seriously wounded on Wednesday in what the government called an assassination attempt. A suspect was detained at the scene, according to Slovakia’s president.

A post on the prime minister’s official and verified Facebook page said that Mr. Fico was in “life-threatening condition” after sustaining “multiple” gunshot wounds. “The next few hours will decide,” the post said.

There was no immediate comment from the police about the attack, which unfolded in the central Slovak town of Handlova and drew shock and condemnation from Slovak and other European officials.

Mr. Fico is the founder of Smer party, which started out on the political left but has increasingly embraced right-wing views on immigration and cultural issues. Much of the international focus on Mr. Fico’s leadership in recent years has focused on his ties to President Vladimir Putin of Russia and to Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, Slovakia’s southern neighbor.

The president of Slovakia, Zuzana Caputova, whose position is largely ceremonial, condemned what she described as a “terrible and vile” assault.

“The shooting of the prime minister is first and foremost an attack on a human being — but it’s also an attack on democracy,” she said in a statement.

Ms. Caputova did not name the suspected attacker or provide any indication of a motive, saying only that police would provide further information “when possible” as she urged against making any “swift judgments.”

“The most important thing we should all focus on at this moment is Robert Fico’s fast recovery,” she added.

A veteran politician, Mr. Fico has aligned with the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, in opposing aid to Ukraine and challenging mainstream opinions within the European Union.

Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot outside the venue while greeting supporters, local media reported.Credit…Michal Cizek/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

On Wednesday, Mr. Orban was quick to send good wishes to Mr. Fico, whom he called “my friend.”

“We pray for his health and quick recovery,” Mr. Orban wrote on social media.

Mr. Fico returned to power after a general election in September, reviving a political career that many had considered over when he stepped down as prime minister in 2018, amid large street protests after the killing of an investigative journalist who had been looking into government graft.

In October, Mr. Fico said he was halting all military aid to Ukraine, but that nonmilitary aid would continue, in what would make Slovakia the first country that has sent weapons to Kyiv since the war started to say it would stop.

Here is what else to know:

  • Videos from the scene indicate that the attacker shot the prime minister in Banikov Square, in the center Handlova. Mr. Fico, a veteran politician, had held a government meeting nearby in Handlova’s House of Culture and then a nearly hourlong news conference. The attacker is seen in the videos standing with other people behind a barrier before shooting Mr. Fico when he came to greet them.

  • Slovakia’s interior minister, Matus Sutaj Estok, promised the assassination attempt would be investigated “as quickly as possible.” “Slovakia is experiencing the worst day of its democracy,” he wrote on Facebook. The parliament of Slovakia suspended its meetings and said it was “significantly” bolstering its security measures in response to the attack on Fico.

  • Mr. Fico was airlifted to the F.D. Roosevelt Hospital in Banska Bystrica, a city near Handlova. Local news outlets showed a police cordon outside the hospital’s emergency room, and reported that Slovakia’s health minister and Mr. Estok were there.

  • President Biden condemned the “horrific act of violence” and said he was praying for Mr. Fico’s “swift recovery.” He added that the U.S. Embassy was in “close touch” with Slovakia’s government and stood ready to assist.

Check Also

INTERVIEW: Sustainable energy offers ‘hope’ in fight against desertification and land loss

INTERVIEW: Sustainable energy offers ‘hope’ in fight against desertification and land loss

Mr. Thiaw spoke to UN News ahead of the World Day to Combat Desertification and …

Leave a Reply