Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico shot and wounded; ” His days are endangered “

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Security officers usher Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico into a car after gunshots hit him, in Handlova, Slovakia, May 15, 2024. RADOVAN STOKLASA / REUTERS

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot in the stomach and taken to hospital, according to the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Lubos Blaha, quoted by the TASR news agency. The events took place in Handlova, a town located some 150 kilometers northeast of the capital, according to the Slovak television channel TA3. According to the news channel, cited by Reuters, the assailant shot the pro-Russian leader four times. A suspect has been arrested. The Vice President adjourned the current session of Parliament until further notice.

According to the Facebook page of Prime Minister Robert Fico “was shot several times and is in a life-threatening condition. He is currently being transported by helicopter to Banska Bystrica because it would take too long to get to Bratislava and he needs urgent intervention. The next few hours will be decisive”.

The events occurred in front of the local House of Culture. Slovak daily newspaper Dennik N, whose reporter saw the head of government taken away in a car by his bodyguards, claimed that the alleged shooter had been apprehended by the police. The police cordoned off the scene.

According to the correspondent of World in Central Europe, Jean-Baptiste Chastand, the Prime Minister, approached a small group of people who came to see him in the street after a council of ministers on Wednesday morning. A meeting for the European elections was to be held on Wednesday afternoon.

“Despicable attack”

Slovak President Zuzana Caputova condemned attack ” brutal “ and wished a good recovery to Robert Fico, who became prime minister again last year after having already held this position between 2012 and 2018 and between 2006 and 2010. “A physical attack on the prime minister is an attack on a person, but also an attack on democracy”, she said in a press release. She urged the population not to make hasty judgments about this attack, stressed that the police have arrested the attacker and that they will provide more information as soon as possible. MPs from Mr. Fico’s party immediately accused the opposition of being responsible for this attack, even though we still know absolutely nothing about the shooter’s motivations.

President Emmanuel Macron said he “shocked by the shots which hit the Slovak Prime Minister”, adding: “I strongly condemn this attack. My thoughts and solidarity go out to him, his family and the Slovak people,” In https://twitter.com/EmmanuelMacron/status/1790784568577994863.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, condemned “the despicable attack” against the Slovak prime minister. “Such acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine democracy, our most precious common good. My thoughts are with Prime Minister Fico and his family”wrote on the German manager. The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, said he was “deeply shocked by the heinous attack perpetrated against my friend, Prime Minister Robert Fico”, https://twitter.com/PM_ViktorOrban/status/1790740770418208860saying “pray for his health and speedy recovery”.

“The attack on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is appallingalso reacted the Ukrainian president, Volodymy Zelensky, https://twitter.com/ZelenskyyUa/status/1790749897022472677. We strongly condemn this act of violence against the head of government of a neighboring partner state. » Russian leader Vladimir Putin denounced “heinous crime”. US President Joe Biden also vscondemned the attack, which he described as“despicable” in a press release.

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Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy, said https://twitter.com/JosepBorrellF/status/1790776345330319818?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1790776345330319818%7Ctwgr%5E248c381e4e66ddff82050d8f2680d8fb9075931b%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fworld%2Flive%2F2024%2Fmay%2F15%2Fgeorgia-protest-foreign-agents-bill-demonstrations-tbilisi-latest-live-news that his thoughts were with the Slovak Prime Minister and his family, saying “ shocked » and adding: “ Once again we are witnessing unacceptable attacks against political representatives. »

Georgia Meloni, head of the Italian government, expressed in a statement https://twitter.com/GiorgiaMeloni/status/1790749950755692996 “the strongest condemnation of any form of violence and attack on the basic principles of democracy and freedom”saying to himself “shocked” because “vile attack”.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said “shocked and appalled”. “I wish him the strength necessary for a speedy recovery”he wrote https://twitter.com/jensstoltenberg/status/1790748869883580661 UN chief Antonio Guterres also condemned attack “shocking”.

Robert Fico distinguished himself in particular by refusing to continue to help Ukraine militarily in the face of the Russian invasion.

Le Monde with AP, AFP and Reuters

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