The head of the Slovak government Robert Fico remains in a stable but still “very serious” condition

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was in a stable but still “very serious” condition on Thursday morning, after being shot the day before in an attack described as “political” by the authorities.

Targeted on Wednesday by a gunman whose motivations remain unclear at this stage, the 59-year-old leader underwent a five-hour operation on Wednesday at Roosevelt Hospital in Banska Bystrica, where he was transported by helicopter.

He is still in a “really very serious” condition, suffering from “multiple injuries”, and will remain in intensive care, said the director of the establishment Miriam Lapunikova during a press conference early this morning.

“Unfortunately, the condition remains very serious, because his injuries are complicated,” confirmed Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak, also Minister of Defense.

Robert Fico was shot several times early Wednesday afternoon after a cabinet meeting in Handlova, in central Slovakia, an attack which sparked a wave of international condemnation.

According to Mr. Kalinak, this is “a political attack” to which we must “react accordingly”.

According to experts, this assassination attempt could accentuate the “radicalization” of the Slovak political class, in a country divided between a government and an elected president favorable to the Kremlin and the pro-Western camp.

“I fear that this attack will not be the last and that members of the opposition will in turn be targeted in the near future,” political scientist Miroslav Radek told AFP.

71-year-old writer

Police arrested the suspected attacker, a 71-year-old man identified by Slovak media as a local writer from the town of Levice. No information has been given at this stage on his motivations.

According to press reports, he has written several collections of poetry and is a member of the official Slovak Writers’ Association.

Several statements from the suspect are available on social networks. In a video posted online eight years ago, he said: “The world is full of violence and guns. People seem to be going crazy.”

In Levice, residents confided their “sadness” at this act of “violence”, like Jaroslav Pirozak, a 34-year-old engineer. “But at the same time, he is the one who sows hatred and divides society.”

“I fear it will become even more extreme and repress the media and the opposition,” he added.

After returning to power in October in this country of 5.4 million inhabitants, a member of the European Union and NATO, Robert Fico stopped all military aid to neighboring Ukraine.


His government coalition also adopted a controversial bill in April on public radio and television RTVS. The measures were criticized by media rights groups, including the NGO Reporters Without Borders, and sparked massive protests.

The attack caused shock around the world.

US President Joe Biden condemned a “despicable act of violence”, adding that he and his wife Jill “were thinking of his family and the people of Slovakia”.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky denounced a horrific attack, while Russian head of state Vladimir Putin spoke of a “heinous crime”, describing former communist and ally Robert Fico as “a courageous and determined man”.

In the EU, several leaders have expressed their “shock”, like Emmanuel Macron in France, Giorgia Meloni in Italy or the Hungarian Viktor Orban, close to Robert Fico.

The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen also deplored a “despicable attack”, judging that “such acts of violence had no place in our society and undermined democracy, our most precious common good”.

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