Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico’s health is stabilizing, says Health Minister

The prognosis regarding the state of health of the head of the Slovak government Robert Fico after the assassination attempt is “positive”, the Slovak Minister of Health announced on Saturday, while the suspect was placed in pre-trial detention.

Mr. Fico has been hospitalized since Wednesday, when a sniper shot him four times, including in the abdomen.

He underwent a five-hour operation on Wednesday and a two-hour operation on Friday, both at a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica in central Slovakia.

“Yesterday’s surgical intervention, which lasted two hours, contributed to a positive prognosis for the state of health of the Prime Minister,” Minister Zuzana Dolinkova told the press.

“The Prime Minister’s state of health is stable, but it remains serious,” she added.

“If the shot had gone a few centimeters higher, it would have hit the prime minister’s liver,” Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok told the TA3 news channel.

Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak, Mr. Fico’s closest political ally, said the prime minister was aware.

“I don’t think he can be transported to Bratislava in the next few days, because his condition is still serious,” he told reporters.

Also in the morning, the attempted murder suspect arrived at the Pezinok criminal court northeast of Bratislava, which ordered him to be remanded in custody. “There are fears of a potential escape or that the criminal activity will continue,” said Katarina Kudjakova, the spokeswoman for the Pezinok Special Criminal Court.

The man, identified by Slovak media as 71-year-old poet Juraj Cintula, fired five shots at Fico on Wednesday and hit him four times. He was charged with attempted premeditated murder.

The shooting occurred as Mr. Fico greeted supporters after a remote government meeting in the town of Handlova in central Slovakia.

Mr. Fico has been in office since his centrist populist party, Smer-SD, won legislative elections last fall.

All these lies

Mr. Fico is serving his fourth term as prime minister after campaigning on peace proposals between Russia and Ukraine, Slovakia’s neighbor, and on cutting off military aid to kyiv, which his government subsequently did.

The assassination attempt deeply shocked this country of 5.4 million inhabitants, a member of the European Union and NATO, already strongly divided politically for years.

The outgoing pro-Western president, Zuzana Caputova, and her successor, Peter Pellegrini, an ally of Mr. Fico who will take office in June, called on their fellow Slovak citizens to refrain from any “confrontation” after the shooting.

They called a meeting of all parliamentary party leaders for Tuesday to show unity in the wake of the attack.

Mr. Kalinak, however, suggested on Saturday that Smer-SD would not participate in the meeting.

“They invited the leaders of the political parties and our (party) president is in the hands of the doctors,” he said.

Mr Kalinak added that he would call Ms Caputova on the matter, stressing that Slovakia needed “reconciliation and peace”.

Some Slovak politicians have already launched accusations against their opponents, accusing them of being behind the attack.

Mr. Kalinak on Friday criticized opposition politicians and some media outlets for calling Mr. Fico a criminal, a dictator or a servant of Russian President Vladimir Putin before the attack.

“All these lies are the main reason why Robert Fico is fighting for his life today,” he said in a message published on the Smer-SD website.

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