Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is in stable but serious condition after being shot, doctors said

  • By Malu Corsino and Sarah Rainsford, in Bratislava
  • BBC News

Video explanation, Slovak Prime Minister is fighting for his life after being shot

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is in stable but serious condition after being shot multiple times on Wednesday, doctors said.

The hospital director said that he is currently in the intensive care unit five hours after surgery.

Earlier, Fico, 59, was said to be fighting for his life after being seriously injured in an attack in the small town of Handlova.

One suspect was arrested at the scene of the shooting.

Miriam Labonnikova, director of the F.D. Roosevelt University Hospital in Banska Bystrica, where Fiko was admitted, told a news conference that his condition was “really very serious.”

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Thomas Taraba told the BBC that Fiko’s surgery went “well” and “I think he will survive in the end.”

Interior Minister Matos Sutaj Istuka described the incident as a politically motivated assassination attempt.

Fico is a divisive figure at home – and controversial in the European Union – due to his calls for an end to military aid to Ukraine and sanctions on Russia.

But condemnation of the shooting came from everywhere and was described as an attack on democracy.

The gunman opened fire at close range

The gunman was among a small crowd of Fico supporters who gathered outside a cultural center in Handelova, where the prime minister was holding a meeting.

The shooting took Mr. Fico’s security officers completely by surprise. The footage shows the Prime Minister after he was shot, being carried by a number of officers, who put him in a car and took him away from the scene.

Video explanation, The moment before the Slovak Prime Minister was shot

The gunman fired five shots at close range, wounding Mr Fico in the stomach and arm.

He was taken to hospital in an air ambulance and spent five hours in surgery by surgical and trauma teams, according to Ms Laponnikova.

Later on Wednesday, Taraba told the BBC’s Newshour program that Fico was “not there”. [a] “The situation is life-threatening at this moment.”

He added that the prime minister was injured “from a very close range” and that “one bullet entered his abdomen and the second hit the joint.”

Police have not yet identified the alleged suspect. Unconfirmed local media reports say he is a 71-year-old writer and political activist.

A video widely circulated in Slovak media allegedly shows the suspect.

The man says in the footage that he does not agree with government policy and its attitude towards state media. The BBC does not know whether the person shown in the video is the perpetrator who was arrested at the scene or the circumstances in which he was filmed.

The shooting came on the day Parliament began discussing the government’s proposal to abolish the Slovak public broadcaster RTVS.

Thousands of Slovaks have protested against the proposed reform of the public broadcaster in recent weeks. However, a planned opposition-led demonstration was canceled on Wednesday as reports of the shooting emerged.

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, The Prime Minister of Slovakia was airlifted to a hospital in Banska Bystrica and underwent surgery for several hours

In his interview with the BBC, Deputy Prime Minister Taraba blamed the shooting on “false narratives” spread by Slovakia’s opposition parties.

“Our prime minister has mentioned several times in the past that he fears this will happen,” Taraba said in another interview with BBC’s World Tonight programme.

Parliament was in session at the time of the attack, and Slovak media reported that one of Mr. Fico’s party colleagues shouted at opposition lawmakers and accused them of fueling the attack.

Interior Minister Stock accused the media of contributing to the climate that led to the shooting of the 59-year-old, and told a press conference: “Many of you are the ones who sow this hatred.”

Istok added that he believed ‚Äúthis assassination [attempt] “It was politically motivated.”

Reacting to news of the attack, Slovakia’s outgoing President Zuzana Caputova said: “Something so serious has happened that we cannot even realize it yet.”

She added: “The hate speech we are witnessing in society leads to acts of hatred.”

The State Security Council is scheduled to meet in Slovakia, and the government will meet on Thursday morning following the assassination attempt.

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