Slovakia prime minister expected to survive assassination attempt

Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico is expected to recover after he was shot many times Wednesday, according to officials.

“I guess in the end he will survive,” Deputy Prime Minister Tomas Taraba told reporters, according to The Associated Press, adding, “He’s not in a life-threatening situation at this moment.”

Fico was shot Wednesday after holding a Cabinet meeting in the Trenčín region of central Slovakia, local media outlet TASR reported. He was struck in the abdomen and doctors worked to keep him alive in the hours after the shooting, Defense Minister Robert Kalina told reporters, per the AP.

A 71-year-old man was detained in relation to the incident, according to Slovak news outlet Denník N, which also reported that the suspect used a legally purchased gun.

Slovak President Peter Pellegrini claimed the shooting was an “assassination attempt.”

“An assassination attempt on one of the highest constitutional officials is an unprecedented threat to Slovak democracy,” Pellegrini said in a post on the social platform X. “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.”

Slovak Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok said Thursday that the suspect charged was a lone wolf who “did not belong to any political groups.”

President Biden said he was “alarmed” to hear of the shooting.

“We condemn this horrific act of violence,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday. “Our embassy is in close touch with the government of Slovakia and ready to assist.”

Fico is Slovakia’s longest-serving prime minister, having served in the role from 2006-10 and 2012-18. He came back to power last year, according to the AP, on a pro-Russian and anti-American message, which resulted in more expansive worries from other European Union members that he would pull his country farther from the West.

The Associated Press contributed.

Updated at 10:34 a.m. EDT

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