Slovakia's prime minister shot and gravely injured in 'attempted assassination' (2024)

The populist prime minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, was "fighting for his life" Wednesday after he was shot multiple times in an "attempted assassination," his party's officials said.

Slovak Defense Minister Robert Kaliňák told reporters that doctors operated into the evening and that Fico's condition was extremely serious.

"We've experienced a very tragic day, which means the prime minister is fighting for his life," Kaliňák said, according to local reports.

Late Wednesday, Deputy Prime MinisterTomas Taraba offered an update to the BBC, saying Fico was "not in a life-threatening situation at this moment."

Interior MinisterMatúš Šutaj Eštok earlier reporters that the gunman shot Fico five times. A suspect was arrested, officials said; a motive was not immediately clear.

Šutaj Eštok said an initial investigation found “a clear political motivation.”

Fico’s Facebook page said he was taken to a hospital in Banská Bystrica rather than in the capital, Bratislava, because "it would take too long considering the urgency of the matter."

Slovakia's prime minister shot and gravely injured in 'attempted assassination' (1)

At a news conference after the attack, President Zuzana Čaputová confirmed an arrest of a suspect and said police would provide further information.

“Until then, let us not pass quick judgments, please,” she said.

A reporter for the Slovak news agency TASR said several shots were fired in the town of Handlova, about 110 miles northeast of Bratislava. Fico was greeting members of the public after a government meeting, it reported.

Čaputová confirmed the attack on Fico, 59, shortly after the news broke.

“Utterly shocked by today’s brutal and reckless attack on #Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, which I condemn in strongest possible terms,” she said in a message on X. “I wish him lot of strength in this critical moment and early recovery. My thoughts are also with his family and close ones,” she added.

Photos on news agencies showed a man appearing to be detained in Handlova. Video captured at the scene and shared on social media showed another man being carried into a car by security staffers in dark suits.

Slovakia's prime minister shot and gravely injured in 'attempted assassination' (2)

Fico was elected in October as leader of the leftist Smer party, meaning “direction,” standing on a pro-Russian and anti-American populist platform.

He had already served as prime minister twice before he returned to the role last year as part of a power-sharing deal with two other parties. Fico faced criticism this month as thousands of Slovaks rallied against a plan to overhaul public radio and television in the country of 5.4 million, sparking fears of government control and a shift away from pro-Western ties.

Fico has found common cause with Viktor Orbán, the right-wing authoritarian leader of Hungary, Slovakia's neighbor to the south, in ending support for Ukraine's defense against Russia's invasion and criticizing Western support for Kyiv. Slovakia also shares a border with Ukraine.

Both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin gave public support to Fico.

Putin said in a letter to Čaputová shared by the Kremlin that the "heinous crime cannot be justified," and Zelenskyy posted on X that "every effort should be made to ensure that violence does not become the norm in any country, form, or sphere."

President Joe Biden also wished Fico a "speedy recovery" and said in a statement that the U.S. Embassy was in contact with the Slovakian government and "ready to assist."

Slovakia's prime minister shot and gravely injured in 'attempted assassination' (3)

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, also strongly condemned the attempt on Fico's life.

“Such acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine democracy, our most precious common good,” she said in a post on X.

Slovakia is an E.U. member.

Slovakia’s main opposition parties canceled a planned protest against aplan to overhaul public broadcastingthat they say would give Fico's government full control of public radio and television, according to The Associated Press.

“We absolutely and strongly condemn violence and today’s shooting of Premier Robert Fico,” Progressive Slovakia leader Michal Šimečka said. “At the same time we call on all politicians to refrain from any expressions and steps which could contribute to further increasing the tension.”

The country’s incoming president, Peter Pellegrini, a close Fico ally, said the incident represented "an unprecedented threat to Slovak democracy."

He added, "If we express different political opinions with guns in the squares and not in polling stations, we endanger everything we have built together in 31 years of Slovak sovereignty."

Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith is a London-based editor and reporter for NBC News Digital.

Jana Kasperkevic

Weekend Director of Platforms, NBC

Erik Ortiz


The Associated Press





Slovakia's prime minister shot and gravely injured in 'attempted assassination' (2024)


Slovakia's prime minister shot and gravely injured in 'attempted assassination'? ›

Slovakia PM Robert Fico in stable but serious condition after shooting, doctors say. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is in a stable but serious condition after being shot several times on Wednesday, according to doctors. The hospital director said he was currently in an intensive care unit after five hours in surgery ...

Who shot the president of Slovakia? ›

The alleged shooter has been identified by multiple local media outlets as a 71-year-old man from southern Slovakia. There has been no official confirmation of the identity of the shooter, but his face was clearly visible in some of the video footage of the attack and his subsequent arrest.

Who was shot in Slovakia? ›

Robert Fico, Slovakia's prime minister, remained in serious condition after being shot multiple times on Wednesday. Political groups in Slovakia and leaders across Europe roundly condemned the shooting. But Fico (pronounced FEET-so) has also been a polarizing figure in his country and within the European Union.

What prime minister was shot at today? ›

Five shots are heard in a video that appears to capture the moment Slovakia's prime minister Robert Fico was shot in the town of Handlova on Wednesday.

Is Robert Fico prime? ›

Robert Fico (Slovak: [ˈrɔbert ˈfitsɔ]; born 15 September 1964) is a Slovak politician currently serving as the prime minister of Slovakia since 2023. He previously served in the position from 2006 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2018.

Why did the Slovakian prime minister get shot? ›

Matus Sutaj-Estok said the suspect - who is alleged to have shot the prime minister about five times - had disagreed with the government on topics such as halting arms deliveries to Ukraine and changes to Slovakia's radio and TV services.

Which president was killed by an assassin? ›

Four sitting presidents have been killed: Abraham Lincoln (1865, by John Wilkes Booth), James A. Garfield (1881, by Charles J. Guiteau), William McKinley (1901, by Leon Czolgosz), and John F. Kennedy (1963, by Lee Harvey Oswald).

Was Slovakia's prime minister shot? ›

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is in a stable but serious condition after being shot several times on Wednesday, according to doctors. The hospital director said he was currently in an intensive care unit after five hours in surgery.

Where was the Slovakian prime minister shot? ›

The gunman was in a small crowd of Fico supporters who were gathered outside a cultural centre in Handlova, where the prime minister had been holding a meeting. The shooting took Mr Fico's security officers completely by surprise.

Who is the Slovakian prime minister? ›

Has a PM ever been assassinated? ›

Spencer Perceval enjoys the unfortunate distinction of being the only British Prime Minister to die at the hands of an assassin. His political career coincided with a period of upheaval created by the French Revolution.

Who is the assassinated prime minister list? ›

Assassinated prime ministers
Indira Gandhi31 October 1984Main convicts: Beant Singh Satwant Singh Co-conspirator: Kehar Singh
Rajiv Gandhi (former prime minister)21 May 1991Main convict: Thenmozhi Rajaratnam Co-conspirators: A. G. Perarivalan S. Nalini Sriharan T. Suthendrara V. Sriharan

Who are the three presidents who were shot? ›

The list of attempts are as follows:
  • President assassinated: Lincoln (1865), Garfield (1881), McKinley (1901), Kennedy (1963)
  • President shot, but survived: T. ...
  • President unharmed, but others killed/injured: F. D. Roosevelt (1933), Truman (1950), Ford (second attempt) (1975)
Feb 2, 2024

What party is FICO in Slovakia? ›

What does FICO mean? ›

FICO stands for the Fair Isaac Corporation. FICO was a pioneer in developing a method for calculating credit scores based on information collected by credit reporting agencies.

What credit score is considered prime? ›

Prime (credit scores of 660-719) Super-prime (credit scores of 720 or above)

Who shot John McKinley? ›

While in Buffalo, he went against the advice of his staff by agreeing to extend a long round of public handshaking with an appearance at the exhibition's Temple of Music. Toward the end of his scheduled appearance, Leon Czolgosz, a self-avowed anarchist, shook McKinley's left hand while shooting twice at the President.

Who liberated Slovakia in ww2? ›

At least one ceremony took place in Banská Bystrica, the center of the uprising. The Red Army slowly liberated Slovakia in the spring of 1945 and entered Bratislava in early April.


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