Saturday June 22, 2024

Slovak PM in life-threatening condition after being shot

Published : 15 May 2024, 19:36

Updated : 15 May 2024, 22:38

  DF News Desk
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. File Photo: Xinhua.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is in a life-threatening condition after being shot in Handlova, Slovakia's Trencin region, reported Xinhua.

The wounded Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is still in critical condition and is undergoing surgery, Slovak Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Robert Kalinak said Wednesday evening.

The attack has been classified as an assassination, with the gunner firing five shots, according to Slovak Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok. He added that the attack was "politically motivated."

Fico was wounded Wednesday afternoon after attending a government meeting in the town of Handlova, some 150 km northeast of the capital. The suspect, 71, was detained on the spot. Police have sealed off the area in front of the Culture House in Handlova.

Fico was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Banska Bystrica after being shot.

Following the shooting, politicians from Slovakia and abroad condemned the attack.

Slovak president-elect Peter Pellegrini, who is scheduled to take office in June, described the shooting as an unprecedented threat to Slovak democracy.

"I am horrified at what hatred of a different political opinion can lead to," Pellegrini wrote on social media, emphasizing that there are many ways to express disagreement democratically and legally in Slovakia. He warned that resorting to violence instead of using polling stations threatens the progress made over the past 31 years.

Slovak President Zuzana Caputova expressed her shock at the "horrific and malicious" attack, stressing that the shooting is not only an attack on an individual but also an attack on democracy.

Parliamentary Vice-Chair Peter Ziga, who has temporarily assumed the powers of the House chair, echoed these sentiments. "I see the armed attack as an attack on the principles of Slovak democracy," Ziga stated at a press briefing in Parliament. He emphasized that political conflicts should be fought with arguments, and violence must never have a place in politics.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the "shocking attack carried out today against the prime minister of Slovakia," his office said Wednesday.

Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Jens Stoltenberg said he was "shocked and appalled" by the shooting.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said, "Such acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine democracy, our most precious common good." European Council President Charles Michel shared the same view, declaring that "Nothing can ever justify violence or such attacks."

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also condemned the "cowardly attack," saying that violence must not exist in European politics. French President Emmanuel Macron said he was shocked by the shooting and strongly condemned it. Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics stated, "Whatever political or other differences there are, violence is completely unacceptable."