Fear in Slovakia, Prime Minister Fico wounded by gunshots. “Struggle between life and death”


By John

According to the latest information released by Slovak television Ta3, Prime Minister Robert Fico is in a medically induced coma after the long operation he underwent after the attack. The operation lasted over 4 hours. According to the same sources, the shots did not damage the main arteries. In total, five shots were fired. The Slovak prime minister was shot and wounded immediately after the government meeting in Handlova, near Bratislava. Fico was shot in front of a cultural center in the city of Handlova, where a government meeting was being held. The attacker who shot Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has been arrested by the police.

The attack on the populist and pro-Russian prime minister who has been back in office since last October has raised a wave of indignation and shock at an international level, from President Joe Biden to Russian President Vladimir Putin, passing through the EU leaders who speak of “attack on democracy”. According to initial reconstructions, Fico was hit by three of the five shots fired by the attacker: two in the arm and one in the abdomen. The attack took place in front of a cultural center in Handlova, a town about 200 km drive east of the capital Bratislava, where a government meeting had just been held. Fico was urgently transported by helicopter to the 'Roosevelt' hospital in Banska Bystrica, about 35 km as the crow flies from Handlova, where he was initially admitted to a vascular surgery unit and then operated on . A transport to Bratislava was deemed too long given the severity of his condition: he is “between life and death”, the Slovak government reported in a note in the early afternoon, defining the attack as “an assassination attempt”. .

“The next few hours will decide,” warns a text published on his Facebook page. The attacker, who was hiding among the crowd gathered in front of the meeting building, shouted 'Robo, come here!' before firing. The two most relaunched videos on the internet show the first seconds after the shots. In one we see two security men physically carrying Fico into a black Audi, with the prime minister dragging his feet – evidently due to his stomach wound. In another video, two policemen and two people in plain clothes handcuff someone lying on the ground: the attacker against whom criminal proceedings have been initiated for attempted murder with the aggravating circumstance of premeditation. Slovak media reports that the elderly man, Juraj Cintula, fired a legally owned gun. The man had worked in 2016 “for a private security service”, published “several collections of poems” as well as a novel and also collected signatures to found a “movement against violence”.

The son admitted that Cintula “did not vote” for Fico, but he cannot explain the parent's gesture. “I did it because I disagree with the government's policies,” the man confessed during the interrogation, of which the local media re-released some images. «It was a political ambush», not surprisingly denounced Defense Minister Robert Kaliňák who rushed with other colleagues to the hospital in Banska Bystrica, where in the evening the prime minister was still under the knife and in good condition. defined as “extraordinarily serious”. Four times prime minister (he had already led executives in 2006-10 and 2012-18), Fico is a veteran of Slovak politics who, after winning the elections last September, is shifting the orientation of Bratislava's foreign policy towards Russia, aligning to the Hungarian Viktor Orban: among other things he questioned the sovereignty of Ukraine and asked for a compromise with Moscow in order to end the Russian war of aggression. Since he has been in office, and keeping his promise not to supply Kiev with “not even a single bullet”, he has stopped sending publicly paid weapons to the Ukrainians. Tough on migrants and LGBT minorities, Fico has provoked mass protests with controversial reforms, including a media law accused of compromising the impartiality of public television and radio. Due to the attack, two Slovak opposition parties canceled a protest called for today in defense of the independence of public TV and radio. «We condemn this horrible act of violence»declared Biden for once in agreement with Putin who spoke of a “hateful crime” against a “courageous man”. The rotating presidency of the EU entrusted to Belgium defined the attack as “an attack on democracy”, a concept used also from the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. While Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she learned «with profound dismay the news of the cowardly attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico. All my thoughts are with him, his family and the “Friend of the Slovak people. Also on behalf of the Italian Government – added Meloni – I would like to express the strongest condemnation of any form of violence and attack on the key principles of democracy and freedom”.