Slovakian PM Fico in ‘life-threatening’ condition after being shot; EU leaders decry ‘brutal attack’

Slovakian PM Fico in ‘life-threatening’ condition after being shot; EU leaders decry 'brutal attack'

Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico attends a press conference during a Special European Council Meeting on April 18, 2024 in Brussels, Belgium.

Pier Marco Tacca | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Slovakia’s populist Prime Minister Robert Fico on Wednesday was shot multiple times in an assassination attempt that has sent shockwaves across the continent.

The 59-year-old has been transported by helicopter to hospital in the central Slovakian city of Banska Bystrica to receive treatment.

A post on Fico’s official Facebook page said the prime minister was “shot multiple times and is in a life-threatening state” after an “attempted assassination.”

“In this moment he is being transported by helicopter to Banska Bystrica, because to Bratislava it would take too long considering the urgency of the matter. Coming hours will decide,” the post said, according to an NBC translation.

Fico was reported to have been shot and wounded in the abdomen after a government meeting in the central Slovakian city of Handlova, Reuters reported, citing Slovak news agency TASR.

Slovakia’s foreign office was not immediately available to comment when contacted by CNBC.

Fico returned to power in September last year after campaigning on a pro-Russian and anti-American platform.

Slovakian President Zuzana Čaputová “strongly” condemned the “brutal and ruthless attack” in a Google-translated Facebook post, without supplying further details of the nature of the attack.

A person is detained after a shooting incident of Slovak PM Robert Fico, after a Slovak government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia, May 15, 2024. 

Radovan Stoklasa | Reuters

European leaders reacted with shock to the news and wished Fico well.

“I strongly condemn the vile attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said via social media platform X.

“Such acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine democracy, our most precious common good. My thoughts are with PM Fico and his family,” she added.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he was “deeply shocked by the heinous attack” against Slovakia’s Fico.

“We pray for his health and quick recovery! God bless him and his country!” Orban said via X.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said news of “the cowardly assassination attempt on Slovakian Prime Minister Fico has shocked me greatly.”

“Violence must have no place in European politics. At this time, my thoughts are with Robert Fico, his family and the citizens of Slovakia,” Scholz said via a Google-translated post on X.

Security officers move Slovak PM Robert Fico in a car after he was injured in a shooting incident, after a Slovak government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia, May 15, 2024. 

Radovan Stoklasa | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the attack on Fico was “appalling” and “strongly” condemned the act of violence.

“Every effort should be made to ensure that violence does not become the norm in any country, form, or sphere,” Zelenskyy said via X.

“We sincerely hope Robert Fico recovers soon and express our solidarity with the people of Slovakia,” he added.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala described the news of Fico’s shooting as “shocking” and said he wished Slovakia’s prime minister will “get well as soon as possible.”

“We must not tolerate violence, it must have no place in society,” Fiala said in a Google-translated post via social media platform X.