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Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico expected to survive after shooting : NPR

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Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico expected to survive after shooting : NPR
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Rescue employees wheel Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital within the city of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia, on Wednesday.

Jan Kroslak/TASR through AP


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Jan Kroslak/TASR through AP

Rescue employees wheel Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital within the city of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia, on Wednesday.

Jan Kroslak/TASR through AP

BANSKA BYSTRICA, Slovakia — Slovakia’s populist Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot a number of occasions and gravely wounded Wednesday, however his deputy prime minister mentioned he believed Fico would survive.

The prime minister had been greeting supporters at an occasion when the tried assassination came about, surprising the small nation and reverberating throughout Europe weeks earlier than an election.

“I suppose ultimately he’ll survive,” Tomas Taraba informed the BBC, including: “He isn’t in a life threatening scenario at this second.”

Medical doctors fought for Fico’s life a number of hours after the pro-Russian chief, 59, was hit within the stomach, Protection Minister Robert Kalina informed reporters on the hospital the place Fico was being handled.

5 pictures have been fired exterior a cultural heart within the city of Handlova, almost 140 kilometers (85 miles) northeast of the capital, authorities officers mentioned. Fico was shot whereas attending a gathering of his authorities within the city of 16,000 that was as soon as a middle of coal mining.

A suspect was in custody, and an preliminary investigation discovered “a transparent political motivation” behind the assassination try, Inside Minister Matus Sutaj Estok mentioned as he briefed reporters alongside the protection minister.

Fico’s pro-Russian, anti-American message

Fico has lengthy been a divisive determine in Slovakia and past, however his return to energy final yr on a pro-Russian, anti-American message led to even larger worries amongst fellow European Union members that he would lead his nation farther from the Western mainstream.

Kicking off his fourth time period as prime minister, his authorities halted arms deliveries to Ukraine, and critics fear that he’ll lead Slovakia — a nation of 5.4 million that belongs to NATO — to desert its pro-Western course and observe within the footsteps of Hungary beneath populist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Hundreds have repeatedly rallied within the capital and throughout Slovakia to protest Fico’s insurance policies.

Assault comes forward of European Parliament elections

A message posted to Fico’s Fb account mentioned he was taken to a hospital in Banska Bystrica, 29 kilometers (17 miles) from Handlova, as a result of it could take too lengthy to get to the capital, Bratislava.

The assault comes as political campaigning heats up three weeks forward of Europe-wide elections to decide on lawmakers for the European Parliament. Concern is mounting that populist and nationalists just like Fico might make features within the 27-member bloc.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, proper, shakes palms with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico throughout their assembly within the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Aug. 25, 2016. Fico returned to energy in Slovakia final yr, having beforehand served twice as prime minister.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP


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Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin, proper, shakes palms with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico throughout their assembly within the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Aug. 25, 2016. Fico returned to energy in Slovakia final yr, having beforehand served twice as prime minister.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

However politics as common have been put apart because the nation confronted the shock of the try on Fico’s life.

“A bodily assault on the prime minister is, to begin with, an assault on an individual, however it is usually an assault on democracy,” outgoing President Zuzana Caputova, a political rival of Fico, mentioned in a televised assertion. “Any violence is unacceptable. The hateful rhetoric we have been witnessing in society results in hateful actions. Please, let’s cease it.”

Reactions of shock in Slovakia and world wide

President-elect Peter Pellegrini, an ally of Fico, known as the tried assassination “an unprecedented menace to Slovak democracy. If we specific different political views with pistols in squares, and never in polling stations, we’re jeopardizing all the pieces that now we have constructed collectively over 31 years of Slovak sovereignty.”

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, heart, speaks with folks earlier than a cupboard assembly within the city of Handlova, Slovakia, on Wednesday.

Radovan Stoklasa/AP


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Radovan Stoklasa/AP

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, heart, speaks with folks earlier than a cupboard assembly within the city of Handlova, Slovakia, on Wednesday.

Radovan Stoklasa/AP

The latest elections that introduced Fico and his allies to energy have underlined deep social divisions, exacerbated by the struggle in Ukraine, Slovakia’s neighbor to the east.

Gabor Czimer, a political journalist at Slovakian information outlet Ujszo.com, mentioned the outcomes confirmed that “Slovak society was strongly cut up into two camps” — one that’s pleasant towards Russia and one other that pushes for stronger connections with the EU and the West.

“On the similar time, I could not think about that it could result in bodily violence,” Czímer mentioned.

Estok, the Slovak inside minister, informed reporters exterior the hospital that the nation was “on the sting of a civil struggle” from the political pressure.

“Such hateful feedback are being made on social networks at this time, so please, let’s cease this instantly,” he mentioned.

U.S. President Joe Biden mentioned he was alarmed. “We condemn this horrific act of violence,” he mentioned in an announcement.

NATO Secretary-Basic Jens Stoltenberg posted on the social media platform X that he was “shocked and appalled” by the try on Fico’s life. European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen known as it a “vile assault.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounced the violence towards a neighboring nation’s head of presidency.

“Each effort must be made to make sure that violence doesn’t develop into the norm in any nation, type or sphere,” he mentioned.

Political opponents put aside variations

Slovakia’s Parliament was adjourned till additional discover. The key opposition events, Progressive Slovakia and Freedom and Solidarity, canceled a deliberate protest towards a controversial authorities plan to overtake public broadcasting that they are saying would give the federal government full management of public radio and tv.

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks throughout a press convention with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, on Jan. 16.

Denes Erdos/AP


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Denes Erdos/AP

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks throughout a press convention with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, on Jan. 16.

Denes Erdos/AP

Progressive Slovakia chief Michal Simecka known as on all politicians “to chorus from any expressions and steps which might contribute to additional growing the strain.”

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala wished the premier a swift restoration. “We can’t tolerate violence, there is not any place for it in society.”

The Czech Republic and Slovakia fashioned Czechoslovakia till 1992.

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