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Robert Fico shooting: Suspect charged in attempted assassination of Slovakia leader

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Robert Fico shooting: Suspect charged in attempted assassination of Slovakia leader
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CNN
 — 

Slovakian police have charged a person, described as a politically motivated “lone wolf,” with the tried homicide of Prime Minister Robert Fico, who’s severely ailing in hospital after an assassination try that shocked the japanese European nation.

Fico was acutely aware and capable of converse on Thursday afternoon, in response to his long-time ally and the Slovakian President-elect Peter Pellegrini who visited him within the hospital.

He stated the prime minister was nonetheless in severe situation after being shot 5 instances from a detailed vary and present process surgical procedure.

The assassination try rocked the central European nation and sparked world condemnation. Slovakia’s Inside Minister Matúš Šutaj Eštok stated the suspect instructed legislation enforcement officers that his motion was motivated by his disagreement with the federal government and its reforms.

The 59-year-old populist chief, who returned to energy final yr and whose controversial coverage adjustments have sparked protests in latest weeks, was attacked on Wednesday after an off-site authorities assembly within the city of Handlova.

Šutaj Eštok stated the police was pursuing just one investigative idea – that the assault was politically motivated.

He stated that the suspect instructed legislation enforcement officers that he disagreed with Fico’s insurance policies and that he determined to behave after the latest presidential election, which noticed a Fico ally – Pellegrini – emerge because the winner.

“The explanations (the suspect gave) had been the choice to abolish the particular prosecutor’s workplace, the choice to cease supplying army help to Ukraine, the reform of public service broadcaster and the dismissal of the judicial council head,” Šutaj Eštok stated.

He stated the suspect will not be a member of any extremist group, calling him “a lone wolf” who had up to now attended anti-government protests.

The alleged shooter has been recognized by a number of native media retailers. Requested whether or not the 71-year-old described in some media as Juraj C. from Levice, a city in southwest Slovakia, is the suspect, the spokesperson for the prosecutor’s workplace, Zuzana Drobová, instructed CNN on Thursday: “I can verify that is the one who has been charged.”

Slovakian media reported the shooter was a author and a poet. The Slovak Writers’ Affiliation stated Wednesday that the identify recognized within the native media was a member of the group.

The prime minister had approached a small crowd of individuals ready to satisfy him, when the suspected gunman within the crowd lunged ahead and shot him 5 instances from throughout a safety barrier. Footage from the scene confirmed the injured prime minister being bundled right into a car by his workers, earlier than it speeds away with him inside. No person else was injured within the assault.

The alleged shooter has been recognized by a number of native media retailers as a 71-year-old man from southern Slovakia.

There was no official affirmation of the id of the shooter, however his face was clearly seen in a number of the video footage of the assault and his subsequent arrest.

Slovakian media reported the shooter was a author and a poet. The Slovak Writers’ Affiliation stated Wednesday that the identify recognized within the native media was a member of the group.

Rescue workers take Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia, Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

Dramatic footage from the scene of the assault exhibits the gunman approaching Fico and firing at him from shut vary throughout a safety barrier.

The injured prime minister is then seen being bundled right into a car by his workers, earlier than it speeds away with him inside.

Fico was first rushed into an area hospital after which airlifted to a serious trauma heart within the close by metropolis of Banská Bystrica, the place he spent greater than 5 hours in surgical procedure, in response to hospital officers. Officers stated he was shot, amongst different locations, in his abdomen.

Hospital director Miriam Lapuníková is claimed Thursday Fico was “stabilized however in a really severe situation” and that he would stay within the hospital’s intensive care unit. She added that the hospital had two surgical groups working on the prime minister.

On Thursday morning, the nation’s Protection Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kaliňák stated Fico’s situation “has been stabilized in a single day, extra steps are being taken to raised his well being. The scenario is actually severe.”

The assassination try despatched shockwaves throughout the nation. Kaliňák and Šutaj Eštok delivered an emotional information convention outdoors the hospital on Wednesday evening, saying the chief was “combating for his life.”

Visibly shaken and typically struggling for phrases, the 2 ministers appeared in deep shock over the assault. Later within the information convention, each males struck a extra combative tone, blaming the assault on the “hatred” being unfold by “some individuals” and the media.

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico walks during the European Council summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on April 18, 2024.

Fico is essentially the most highly effective lawmaker in Slovakia. In contrast to the president, whose position is extra ceremonial and has restricted scope, the prime minister holds rank because the decision-making head of presidency.

Slovaks have been deeply divided over the nation’s path and place on the earth since Fico’s return to energy final yr. Supporters see Fico as a caring chief who has their pursuits at coronary heart; critics say he’s a populist whose pro-Russian leanings pose main dangers for the nation.

Slovakia’s protection and inside ministers blamed rising hate speech and division for the political environment within the nation, which they stated led to the assassination try.

As prime minister, Fico made a serious U-turn in Slovakia’s international coverage and its beforehand staunch help for Ukraine, pledging to finish the nation’s army help for Kyiv and promising to dam Ukraine’s NATO ambitions.

The federal government can also be making an attempt to close down the general public service broadcaster and change it with a brand new nationwide broadcaster that might be underneath tighter state management.

The reforms have been extraordinarily divisive and have led to months of largely peaceable protests.

Fico beforehand served as Slovakia’s prime minister for greater than a decade, first between 2006 and 2010 after which once more from 2012 to 2018.

This story has been up to date with further developments.

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