Slovak Prime Minister Fico wounded by gunshots. The attacker arrested

The Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico was wounded by gunfire immediately after the government meeting in Handlova, near Bratislava. The Slovak media report that the attack occurred while the prime minister was outside, in front of the House of Culture: he approached the people who were greeting him, then several shots were fired and Fico fell to the ground. LThe attacker was stopped. This is a 71 year old man, Juraj Cintulawho allegedly said: “I did it because I disagree with the government’s policies.”

Fico was urgently transported by helicopter at the ‘Roosevelt’ hospital in Banska Bystrica, about 35 km as the crow flies from Handlova, where he was initially admitted to a vascular surgery unit and then underwent surgery. A transport to Bratislava was deemed too long given the severity of his condition: he is “between life and death”, the Slovak government reported in a note in the early afternoon, defining the attack as “an assassination attempt”.

The deputy prime minister: “He will make it”

In the evening the statement by Slovakia’s deputy prime minister, Tomas Taraba: “Fortunately, as far as I know, the operation went well. I believe he will make it. His life is not in danger at this time“, he added.

According to the latest information released by Slovak television Ta3, Prime Minister Robert Fico is in a medically induced coma after the long operation he underwent after the attack. The operation lasted over 4 hours. According to the same sources, the shots did not damage the main arteries. In total, five shots were fired.

The Slovak Defense Minister, Robert Kalinák, quoted by the Guardian, gives another version, speaking of “serious conditions”.

The entrance to the emergency room of the Roosevelt hospital in Banská Bystrica, where he was admitted, has been cordoned off and is guarded by the police. According to Slovak media, including Aktuality’s Pravdae websites, the Minister of Health and the Minister of the Interior were also rushed to hospital.

According to an initial reconstruction of the five gunshots fired, three bullets hit the prime minister: two in the arm and one in the abdomen. “I heard the shots – said a journalist who witnessed the event -. I saw Fico get up from the ground. The murderer was stopped.”

“Robo, come here!”: the attacker’s words

The man who shot Robert Fico, who was then stopped by the police, allegedly shouted “Robo come here” before firing. It has already been initiated against him a criminal case for attempted murder with the aggravating circumstance of premeditation.

Slovak media identified him as Juraj Cintulaa 71 year old retiree with a passion for poetry. The weapon he used was legally registered, writes the online newspaper Aktality.sk. Before aiming the weapon and shooting Fico, according to the reconstruction made by the Slovak media, the man shouted at the prime minister who was approaching him to shake his hand. In 2016 he had worked for a private security service.

During the interrogationof which the local media relaunched some images, is said to have said: “I did it because I disagree with government policies.”.

This is the first assassination attempt on a high-level politician in the modern history of Slovakia, separated from the Czech Republic on 1 January 1993.

The Slovak president, Zuzana Caputova, “strongly condemns the attack” on the prime minister, Robert Fico. This was stated by the spokesperson of the head of state Martin Strizinec, quoted by the national media.

The leader of the opposition party Progressive Slovakia, Michal Šimechka he said: “I’m in shock and upset. We unequivocally and firmly condemn any type of violence.”

The attack on the populist and pro-Russian prime minister who has been back in office since last October has raised a wave of indignation and shock at an international level, from President Joe Biden to Russian President Vladimir Putin, passing through the EU leaders who speak of “attack on democracy”.

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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and wounded in Handlova, near Bratislava

Meloni: “Firm condemnation”

“I learned with deep shock the news of the cowardly attack on the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. All my thoughts are with him, his family and the friendly Slovak people. Also on behalf of the Italian Government I would like to express the strongest condemnation of every form of violence and an attack on the cardinal principles of democracy and freedom”. Thus the Prime Minister in a note Giorgia Meloni.

“We are waiting for official news, but given the age of the suspect, over seventy years old, it seems that the matrix is ​​not terrorist“, said the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani, speaking about the attack on Slovakian Prime Minister Fico, on the sidelines of the meeting on ‘The Diplomacy of Growth towards Expo Osaka 2025’, underway at the Farnesina.

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Robert Fico, President of the Government of the Slovak Republic

Ursula Von De Leyen: “Acts of violence that undermine democracy”

“I strongly condemn the cowardly attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico. Such acts of violence have no place in our society and they undermine democracy, our most precious common good. My thoughts go to Prime Minister Fico and his family”, writes the President of the European Commission on Ursula Von De Leyen.

“Solidarity with the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico hit by a cowardly attack. I am close to him and his family”, is the message from the EU Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni.

“I am shocked and horrified by the shooting of Prime Minister Robert Fico. I wish him strength for a speedy recovery. My thoughts go to Robert Fico, his loved ones and the Slovak people”, writes the NATO secretary general on Jens Stoltenberg.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and wounded in Handlova, near Bratislava Handle

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and wounded in Handlova, near Bratislava

Biden: “Horrible act of violence”

“I am alarmed to hear of an attack on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. Jill and I pray for a speedy recovery and our thoughts are with his family and the Slovak people. We condemn this horrific act of violence. Our embassy is in close contact with the Government of Slovakia and is ready to assist”: so Joe Biden in a note from the White House after the attack on the Slovakian prime minister.

Putin: “Heinous crime”

The attack on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is “a heinous crime”, the Russian president said Vladimir Putin, according to what Tass reports. “I know Robert Fico as a courageous man with a strong spirit. I sincerely hope that these qualities will help him resist this difficult situation”, reads the statement released by the Kremlin.

 
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