Slovakia PM Robert Fico recovering from bullet injuries; suspect charged with attempted murder

A cabinet meeting is set to be held to discuss the situation on Thursday

Rescue workers wheel Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia | AP Rescue workers wheel Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia | AP

The health condition of the Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico was serious but stable, said the hospital authorities. The populist leader was hit multiple times in an assassination attempt on Wednesday. 

The suspect detained by the police from the spot of the incident was charged with attempted murder of the PM. Reportedly, the suspect carried out the shooting alone and had taken part in the previously held anti-government protests in the country.

According to Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok, the initial investigation found a clear political motivation behind the attack on Fico. The incident occurred after the PM attended a government meeting in the town of Handlova.

The attack on Fico's life came at a time when there was a high division in Slovakia. Thousands had carried out demonstrations across the country to protest against the pro-Russian leader's policies. 

In the wake of the incident, Slovakian politicians appeared together and sought calm over the existing political divisions. Outgoing President Zuzana Caputova, an opponent of Fico said that the attack was a reflection of an increasingly polarized society.

"Let us step out of the vicious circle of hatred and mutual accusations," said Caputova at a news conference in Bratislava. 

Meanwhile, in order to avoid stand-offs and blame games, President-Elect Peter Pellegrini called on political parties to suspend their campaigns for European elections, which are set to be held on June 6-9. 

If there is anything that the people of Slovakia urgently need today, it is at least basic agreement and unity among the Slovak political representation, Pelligrini said.

A five-hour surgery was performed on Fico, who was initially reported to be in a life-threatening condition. The PM was rushed to F. D. Roosevelt Hospital in Banska Bystrica after being shot. 

A cabinet meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday to discuss the current situation. 

Fico was re-elected to power in Slovakia last year. 

Several world leaders have expressed their shock over the incident and prayed for his speedy recovery. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his support and said this atrocious crime cannot be justified. "I know Robert Fico as a courageous and strong-willed person. I truly hope these personal qualities will help him overcome this harsh situation." 

Leaders including, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Hungary PM Viktor Orbán, UK PM Rishi Sunak and EU leaders expressed shock on hearing the shooting incident.

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