Slovakia prime minister shooting: Robert Fico ‘escaped death by a hair’ says president in update

Slovakia prime minister shooting: Robert Fico ‘escaped death by a hair’ says president in update
Slovakia prime minister shooting: Robert Fico ‘escaped death by a hair’ says president in update

Robert Fico in life-threatening condition after assassination attempt

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The Slovakian prime minister “escaped death by just a hair,” after he was shot in the stomach in an assassination attempt on Wednesday.

Mr Fico, 59, was injured after five shots were fired outside the House of Culture in the town of Handlova where the leader was meeting with supporters.

In an update on Thursday, Slovakia’s president-elect Peter Pellegrini said the PM is still “critical” as he is living “the worst hours and days of his life.”

He added that if the bullets struck just a few millimeters either side, the Mr Fico would have been killed.

Suspect Juraj Cintula, 71, believed to be a former security guard and poet, was charged with attempted murder and faces up to 25 years in prison.

He is believed to have attended anti-government protests, and in social media posts referred to having disagreements with Mr Fico’s policies.

Mr Fico, a well-known ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin, is a divisive figure in Slovak politics, with the European Union Parliament elections due to take place in three weeks.

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What do we know so far?

Here’s a recap of everything we know about the shooting so far:

  • Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot multiple times during a visit to the town of Handlova where he was seen greeting supporters moments before the attack.
  • The 59-year-old Putin was finally rushed to a local hospital and has now been airlifted to Banská Bystrica hospital.
  • He is in a life-threatening condition, with the next few hours said to be crucial.
  • A man was detained at the scene and is in police custody.
  • European leaders have condemned the attack, with Rishi Sunak saying: “Shocked to hear this awful news. “All our thoughts are with Prime Minister Fico and his family.”
  • The shooting comes just three weeks before the crucial European Union Parliament elections.

Holly Evans15 May 2024 16:08

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In pictures: Robert Fico being transported to hospital

Pictures have just been released of Robert Fico being transported into hospital after suffering life-threatening injuries in a shooting.

The Slovak prime minister has been covered by a white sheet while multiple emergency service workers push the hospital bed.

Mr Fico arrived at the Banska Bystrica Hospital after being transported via air ambulance from Handlova.

Slovak prime minister Robert Fico is wheeled into hospital in Banska Bystrica after being wounded in a shooting in Handlova (AP)

He was taken by helicopter to a second hospital to undergo further treatment (AP)

Holly Evans15 May 2024 16:13

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Sir Keir Starmer says assassination attempt is ‘shocking news’

Sir Keir Starmer has called the assassination attempt on Robert Fico “shocking news”.

In a short statement on X, the Labor Party leader added: “My thoughts are with Robert Fico and his family.”

Holly Evans15 May 2024 16:27

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Nato secretary general wishes Fico a ‘speedy recovery’

The Nato secretary general has condemned the attack as Robert Fico remains in hospital in a life-threatening condition.

Jens Stoltenberg said on X: “Shocked and appalled by the shooting of Prime Minister Robert Fico. I wish him strength for a speedy recovery. “My thoughts are with Robert Fico, his loved ones, and the people of Slovakia.”

Holly Evans15 May 2024 16:44

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In pictures: Images show security guards detaining suspect

Video footage obtained by AFPTV shows security personnel carrying Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico (C) towards a vehicle (RTVS/AFP via Getty Images)

The suspect was arrested on the floor (RTVS/AFP via Getty Images)

He remains in police custody (AFPTV/AFP via Getty Images)

Holly Evans15 May 2024 16:48

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Shooting suspect believed to be 71-year-old man

The shooting suspect who was detained at the scene is understood to be a 71-year-old man.

Pictures have emerged of him being handcuffed by security personnel after multiple shots were fired towards Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was hit in the abdomen.

Thomas Verniek, a reporter for Slovak news channel TA3, told SkyNews that the man was part of a crowd of people who approached Mr Fico after he left the House of Culture in the town of Handlova.

He said the suspect addressed him before proceeding to shoot him multiple times.

Holly Evans15 May 2024 17:13

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Slovakia’s PM rushed inside hospital after attempted assassination

Slovakia’s PM Robert Fico rushed inside hospital after attempted assassination

Holly Evans15 May 2024 17:19

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Biden condemns ‘horrific act of violence’ after shooting of Slovak PM

President Joe Biden condemned the attempted assassination of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on Wednesday and said the US Embassy was ready to assist the government there, according to a statement released by the White House.

“I am alarmed to hear reports of an attack on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico,” Biden said. “We condemn this horrific act of violence. Our embassy is in close touch with the government of Slovakia and ready to assist.”

Holly Evans15 May 2024 17:32

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Who is Slovakia’s prime minister Robert Fico?

Born to a working-class family in September 1964, Slovakian prime minister Robert Fico graduated with a law degree in 1986 and joined the then-ruling Communist party.

After the 1989 Velvet Revolution that led to the break up of former Czechoslovakia, he worked as a government lawyer and represented Slovakia at the European Court for Human Rights.

During a three-decade career, Fico has moved between pro-European mainstream and nationalistic positions opposed to European Union and US foreign policy.

Read the full article from Alexander Butler here:

Holly Evans15 May 2024 17:40

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Eyewitness in shock after ‘nightmare’ shooting

An eyewitness has described the scene of the shooting as a “nightmare” after around four shots were fired when a gunman unleashed his weapon.

“I heard three shots, it was quick one by one like if you threw a firecracker on the ground,” eyewitness Lubica Valkovas aided.

“I think it is a nightmare, I’ll tell you I think I won’t wake up from this,” the 66-year-old said. “That this is not possible to happen in Slovakia.”

Security officers drag Slovak PM Robert Fico into his official car after the assassination attempt in Handlova (REUTERS)

Holly Evans15 May 2024 17:50

 
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