Slovakia: Attempt to assassinate Prime Minister Robert Fico

According to local media reports, the prime minister came out of the operation safely, and a suspect was arrested.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was injured in an assassination attempt that took place in the middle of the street in the city of Handlova, located about 95 miles northeast of the capital. The prime minister was in front of the House of Local Culture, where he had gone to meet with people from his party when suddenly shots were heard, and the prime minister fell to the ground in what the authorities assured was an attempt to murder him.

According to the Slovak Spectator, an individual opened fire and shot Fico while he was talking to his supporters. Immediately afterward, the prime minister was taken by helicopter to the main hospital in Banská Bystrica to undergo surgery for a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Robert Fico "will survive"

Slovakia's deputy prime minister, Tomas Taraba, said that after surgery, Fico is no longer in life-threatening condition, giving him confidence in his speedy recovery after the attack.

"I was very shocked... fortunately, as far as I know, the operation went well, and I guess he will survive in the end. He is not in a life-threatening situation at the moment," he said.

Attacker arrested

The Minister of the Interior, Matus Sutaj Estok, announced the arrest of an individual in connection with the attack. The 71-year-old was identified as a well-known writer in Slovakia.

Although the suspect's name has not yet been released, local media reports indicate that he resides in Levice, a city in the center of the country, and is known to be one of the founders of the DUHA (Rainbow) Literary Club. In addition, the individual is reported to have published three poetry collections and is a member of the Slovak Writers' Association.

Vlasta Kollarova, director of a local library in the suspect's hometown, remembers him as "rebellious when he was young, but not aggressive."

Reaction from the suspect's son

The individual's son, in an interview, expressed bewilderment about his father's motives and stated that he had "absolutely no idea what father was thinking, what he was planning, why it happened." However, when asked if his father resented Fico, he replied: "I’ll tell you this: he didn’t vote for him. That’s all I can say about it."

Slovakia's politicians react to the event

The news was confirmed minutes later by Vice President of Parliament Ľuboš Blaha. He suspended the parliamentary session that was currently taking place in Bratislava until further notice and immediately blamed the opposition for what happened.

Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová also commented on the attack. She posted a statement on X and condemned the matter "in [the] strongest possible terms" what happened and wished the prime minister a speedy recovery. His condition is still unknown. 

The rest of the world's politicians in solidarity with Fico

Politicians from all over the world took to social media to express their indignation at what had happened. Examples were Rishi Sunak, prime minister of the United Kingdom,  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Layen, among many others.

The news that Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has been shot is shocking. I wish the Prime Minister well as soon as possible. Violence must not be tolerated and must have no place in society.

The news of the cowardly assassination attempt on Slovak Prime Minister Fico shocks me deeply. Violence must have no place in European politics. In these hours, my thoughts are with Robert Fico, his family and the citizens of Slovakia.

*This is a developing story.