Slovak PM shot after govt meeting, taken to hospital

Slovak PM shot after govt meeting, taken to hospital

Slovak PM shot after govt meeting, taken to hospital

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was on Wednesday shot and hospitalised after a cabinet meeting in the central town of Handlova, local media said.

Fico, a populist leader accused of being Kremlin-friendly, has been prime minister since last year.

"Today, after the government meeting in Handlova, there was an assassination attempt on the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Robert Fico", the government said in a post on social media.

"He is currently being transported by helicopter to Banska Bystrica in a life-threatening condition, because it would take too long to get to Bratislava due to the necessity of an acute intervention", it said.

Fico was shot multiple times, said a post on his official Facebook page.

"We confirm the attack on the prime minister," police spokesman Matej Neumann told AFP.

Handlova local hospital director Marta Eckhardtova said "Fico was brought into our hospital and he was treated at our vascular surgery clinic".

She was unable to describe his injuries.

The Dennik N daily, whose reporter saw the premier being lifted into a car by security guards, reported that the suspected gunman had been detained by police.


Following reports of the shooting, Slovak President Zuzana Caputova denounced the attack as "brutal and reckless."

"I am shocked. I wish Robert Fico a lot of strength in this critical moment to recover from the attack," she said in a statement.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said he was "shocked and appalled by the shooting."

"I wish him strength for a speedy recovery. My thoughts are with Robert Fico, his loved ones, and the people of Slovakia," Stoltenberg wrote on X.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen also condemned what she called a vile attack on 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," von der Leyen said on X, formerly Twitter.

European Council President Charles Michel followed up on X saying he was "shocked at the news".

"Nothing can ever justify violence or such attacks. My thoughts are with the Prime Minister and his family," he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the shooting and wished Fico a speedy recovery.

"We strongly condemn this act of violence against our neighbouring partner state's head of government. Every effort should be made to ensure that violence does not become the norm in any country, form, or sphere," he said in a message on social media.

Following the shooting, Slovakia's main opposition party cancelled a planned protest against government public broadcaster reforms scheduled for Wednesday evening.