Slovak PM Robert Fico shot in assassination attempt

The Slovak leader was rushed to hospital. His current condition is unknown

FILE - Chairman of SMER-Social Democracy party Robert Fico arrives at his party's headquarters in Bratislava, Slovakia, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, the day after an early parliamentary election. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

Slovakia’s populist Prime Minister Robert Fico was injured in a shooting on Wednesday before being driven away at speed by security personnel.

The attack took place in the town of Handlova ahead of a meeting of government officials.

Slovak news outlet Denník N reported the incident shortly after 2:45 p.m., revealing how Fico had greeted a crowd of people welcoming him to the town when several shots were fired.

The Slovak leader fell to the ground and was covered by security personnel.

The alleged assassin was neutralized and detained by police who have cordoned off the area.

Fico was carried into a vehicle which drove off at speed. He is reported to have been seriously injured and was airlifted to the Roosevelt Hospital in Banská Bystrica. He is understood to be in critical condition.

Eyewitnesses told Slovak journalists on the ground that several gunshots were heard, and the politician was shot in the chest and head.

“I was just going to shake his hand,” said one elderly man.

“When the shots rang out, I almost became deaf,” added a woman who saw the injuries sustained by the politician as he lay on the ground.

A meeting of the Slovak National Council was suspended indefinitely in light of the news. Emotions ran high in the chamber after Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Ľuboš Blaha, a Smer party colleague of Fico, told opposition MPs: “This is on you.”

Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová condemned the “brutal and reckless” attack and expressed her shock over the incident. “I wish Roberto Fico a lot of strength at this critical moment to recover.”

Politicians from across Europe also commented on the attack.

“The news about the shooting of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is shocking. I wish the Prime Minister to be well as soon as possible. We must not tolerate violence, it must not have a place in society,” said Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

Czech opposition leader Andrej Babiš added: “Terrible news from Slovakia. I pray for Robert Fico, a lot of strength to him, to all his loved ones, and to the whole of Slovakia.”

“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!” added Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Former Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki added: “Terrible news from Slovakia about the assassination attempt on PM Robert Fico. Robert, my thoughts are with you.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the attack a “cowardly assassination attempt” and insisted that “violence must have no place in European politics.”

Share This Article