Slovakia's prime minister in life-threatening condition after shooting

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Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is in life-threatening condition in a hospital Wednesday after being shot multiple times in an assassination attempt.
The shooting took place after an off-site government meeting in the central Slovak town of Handlova. No one else was injured in the attack, according to Slovak Labor Minister Erik Tomáš.
Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová said the suspected gunman was detained by the police. She said law enforcement agencies will release more information when able.
Fico, who is an ally of Russia, won a third term as Slovakian prime minister last October after running a campaign that criticized Western support for Ukraine.

Biden condemns Slovak prime minister assassination attempt
President Biden speaks at the US Capitol in Washington, on May 15. Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

US President Joe Biden expressed alarm at the attempted assassination of Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico on Wednesday, calling it a “horrific act of violence.”
“I am alarmed to hear reports of an attack on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico,” Biden said in a statement. "Jill and I are praying for a swift recovery, and our thoughts are with his family and the people of Slovakia. We condemn this horrific act of violence. Our embassy is in close touch with the government of Slovakia and ready to assist."

Fico was shot multiple times after a government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia.
Assassination attempt on prime minister "attack on the internal security" of country, opposition member says

An opposition member of Slovakia’s parliament said the assassination attempt on Prime Minister Robert Fico is “an attack on the internal security” of the country.

''An attack on the prime minister is clearly an attack on the internal security of Slovakia, and at this moment it is important to know what his condition is and then we can comment on it in more detail,'' Maria Kolikova told reporters in Bratislava.

''This escalation that is taking place in society can really lead to what we are experiencing now. It is right that we have different political views, but there is interference in society and this has resulted in this act of violence,'' Branislav Gröhling, another opposition lawmaker, said.
Eyewitness at scene of shooting says it felt like a "nightmare"

 police officers stand guard near the cordoned-off crime scene where Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot earlier in the day, in Handlova, Slovakia, on May 15. Jakub Gavlak/EPA-EFE/Shutterstoc

An eyewitness who was at the scene where Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot said it felt like a “nightmare” after hearing three shots, describing them as “quick,” firing one after the other as if you “throw a firecracker on the ground.”

"I heard three shots, it was quick one by one like if you throw a firecracker on the ground,” eyewitness Lubica Valkova told Reuters on Wednesday.

Responding to a question from Reuters as to whether she saw Fico’s injury, Valkova said she “saw a scratch on a head and then he fell next to the barrier.

“I think it is a nightmare, I'll tell you I think I will not wake up from this,” the 66-year-old told Reuters. “That this is not possible to happen in Slovakia.”

Recalling what happened, Valkova said she wanted to shake Fico’s hand and was taking pictures of him when he walked out of the building. She said she was excited and had been waiting a long time.

“At this moment we heard something like a bang, we thought someone made a joke and threw a firecracker on the ground, that was my first reaction,” Valkova told Reuters.

The Slovak resident told Reuters that she had been waiting from 10 a.m. local time and police did not search people who were waiting, adding that “we could have shown our empty hands.”


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