Slovakia PM shooting: Latest updates as Robert Fico fights for his life in hospital after he is shot ‘three times’ during assassination attempt as ’71-year-old poet and writer’ is detained by police

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Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico has been shot and wounded in an assassination attempt this afternoon moments after he left a meeting of MPs.

Mr Fico was taken to hospital after he was struck by bullets to his abdomen shortly after he attended a government meeting in Handlova, some 150 kilometres north-east of the capital Bratislava.

Follow MailOnline’s live coverage for the latest developments on this breaking news story

Information embargo on the hospital treating PM

There is an information embargo on the hospital that is treating the prime minister.

Tomas Vernicek, a reporter with Slovak news channel TA3 said that the situation remains ‘severe’.

As some media outlets have been forced to turn off discussions under their social media posts to limit divisions and speculation.

There’s been [an] information embargo at the hospital where the prime minister was airlifted.

We can definitely, without any doubt, say that Slovakia is right now a very divided country.

Former Slovak PM says shooter was ‘radicalised by a movement within Slovakia’

Former Slovak prime minister Eduard Heger has said there is ‘no room for violence in a democratic society’.

Speaking to Sky News Mr Heger said the latest information suggests the suspect in the shooting was ‘radicalised’ by a movement within Slovakia.

We see that in Slovakia. There is a very high polarisation, but it’s not present only in Slovakia is also present… in other countries as well.

This is definitely not a good situation for for any political debate in any country.

Slovakia’s deputy PM confident that Fico is no longer in a ‘life threatening situation’

Slovakia’s deputy prime minister said he believes Prime Minister Robert Fico ‘will survive’ and that he is no longer in a life threatening situation.

Tomas Taraba, speaking with the BBC criticised the opposition parties, accusing them of using ‘false narratives’.

I was very shocked … fortunately as far as I know the operation went well – and I guess in the end he will survive … he’s not in a life threatening situation at this moment.

He was heavily injured – one bullet went thought the stomach and the second one hit the joint – immediately he was transported to the hospital and then to the operation.

The assassination attempt was ‘politically motivated’

The country’s interior minister Matus Sutaj Estok suggested during the press conference that preliminary information based off of interviews with the suspect ‘clearly’ points to a ‘political motivation’.

This assassination attempt was politically motivated and the suspect made the decision to do it shortly after the presidential election.

Pictured: Scenes outside the hospital tonight

Deputy chairman of Fico’s party blames media for the spread of hate

Lubos Blaha, the deputy chairman of the SMER-SSD party, has blamed the ‘liberal media’ for spreading hate against Robert Fico.

In a statement he condemned the attack that happened earlier today, and added he was ‘digusted’ by what had happened.

For SMER-SSD, I want to sharply condemn what happened today in Handlova and at the same time express heavy disgust over what you have committed here in the past years.

You, liberal media and political opposition. What hatred you spread against Robert Fico.

Pictured: Police forensics at the scene

Police work at the scene after a shooting incident in which Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was wounded, outside the House of Culture in Handlova, Slovakia May 15, 2024. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Police work at the scene after a shooting incident in which Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was wounded, outside the House of Culture in Handlova, Slovakia May 15, 2024. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Interior minister appeals to public to ‘stop spreading hate’

At a press conference, Slovakia’s interior minister appealed ‘to journalists, the public and politicians to stop spreading hate’.

After they have been blamed for the attack, he said: ‘What has started now was sown by many of you, by your hate’

He added: ‘You cannot respond to hate with hate’.

Protection will now be offered to all government officials, saying this is ‘the saddest moment in the history of Slovakia’ as ‘an attack on the Priume Minister is an attack on democracy.’

Slovakia's Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok, right, arrives with Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Slovakia Robert Kalinak for a press conference at the F. D. Roosevelt University Hospital, where Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, is treated in Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia, Wednesday, May 15, 2024. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting after a political event Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile.(AP Photo/Denes Erdos)

‘No good news at the moment’, says defence minister

Robert Kalinak, Slovakia’s defence minister told the press that there is ‘no good news at the moment’.

He added that we now need to put our trust ‘in the hands of the medical specialists’, the situation is very ‘complicated’ and that people must ‘pray’ for Fico’s recovery.

Slovak Defence Minister Robert Kalinak, flanked by Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok, reacts during a press conference at F.D. Roosevelt University Hospital, where Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was taken after he was wounded in a shooting incident in Handlova, in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, May 15, 2024. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

Breaking:Robert Fico still ‘fighting for his life’

In a statement outside of the the hospital caring for the Prime Minister, authorities have said that after 3.5 hours of surgery Fico is still ‘fighting for his life’.

They confirmed he suffered from ‘several shots’ during the attack and that ‘the situation is really bad’.

Slovak Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok speaks during a press conference at F.D. Roosevelt University Hospital, where Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was taken after he was wounded in a shooting incident in Handlova, in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, May 15, 2024. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

‘Shooter’ is a writer and founder of a literary club, reports claim

The man accused of shooting PM Robert Fico is a writer and founder member of a literary club, it has emerged.

Juraj Cintula, 71, has also published several poems and shocked neighbours have described him and his wife as ‘fantastic’.

His son was quoted as telling local media: ‘I have no idea what father intended, what he planned, why it happened. Maybe there was some short circuit.’

It has also emerged that in 2016, while working as a security guard in a supermarket in Levice where he lives, he was attacked by a man and left badly bruised.

A TV interview with Cintula from the time shows him with a black eye in the clip he said of his attacker:’ He was drugged. He started throwing chickens from the shelves onto the ground, then he started juggling them.’

The man then began punching and kicking Cintula before police arrived and his attacker was taken away.

Cintula, who was chairman of the Duha Literary Club until he left in 2016 wrote three poems which were posted onto the club’s  Facebook page.

They were called Dream of a Rebel, Diptych and Wasps and he is also a member of the Association of Slovak Writers.

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The alleged assassin of Robert Fico:Juraj Cintula born in 1953, is one of the founders of LK D JurHA in 2005. From 2008 (when the club transformed into Civic Association) until 2016 he was the chairman of LK. He wrote three poetry collections - Dream of a rebel, Diptych, Wasps - satire, in 2010 he published the novel Message of Sacrifice, in 2015 he published a book about gypsies - Efata. Since 2015 he is a member of the Association of Slovak Writers.

Who is Robert Fico?

The 59-year-old took power for the fourth time last October. In that time, he has turned the country’s foreign policy towards more pro-Russian views and pledged to stop military support for Ukraine.

He has also initiated reforms of criminal law and the media, which have raised concerns over weakening the rule of law.

However, in 2022, he was charged with organised crime offences and faced questions after an investigative journalist – who was working on a story about the activities of the Italian mafia in his country and their links to people close to Fico – was shot dead in 2018.

The murders of Ján Kuciak, 28, and his fiancée Martina Kušnirová brought down Fico’s government at the time. However, the 2022 organised crime charges were later dropped and he went on to be re-elected in 2023.

FILE PHOTO: Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks during a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, Germany, January 24, 2024. REUTERS/Nadja Wohlleben/File Photo

President Biden condemns the assassination attempt

US President Biden has condemned the attack on Slovak Prime Minister Fico.

He said that the US Embassy is in ‘close touch’ with Slovak government and ready to assist.

I am alarmed to hear reports of an attack on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico.  Jill and I are praying for a swift recovery, and our thoughts are with his family and the people of Slovakia.

We condemn this horrific act of violence. Our embassy is in close touch with the government of Slovakia and ready to assist.

Slovakia PM shooting: Everything we know so far

Here’s what we know so far about the attempted assassination of Slovakia’s Prime Minister:

  • Slovak Prime Minister Fico was shot in Handlova and remains in surgery.
  • Russian President Putin has reacted to the incident calling a ‘hideous crime with no justification’.
  • The gunman has been named as 71-year-old Juraj Cintula by local media, he is believed to be a former security guard for the PM
  • Slovakia’s major opposition parties, Progressive Slovakia and Freedom and Solidarity, have cancelled an anti-government protest
  • Slovakian Parliament has been suspended following the attack until the 21 May
  • European leaders have unanimously condemned the attack, with messages of support from Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Breaking:Slovak Prime Minister Fico reportedly suffers hemorrhage in surgery

It has been reported that the Prime Minister has suffered a hemorrhage while in surgery.

It is believed to have occured in the abdominal cavity following shooting in Handlova.

Breaking:Gunman named as Juraj Cintula by local media

Juraj Cintula has been named by local media as the gunman.

He was allegedly born in 1953 and believed to be a poet and writer, having written three poetry collections and published two novels.

Since 2015 he has been a member of the Association of Slovak Writers.

Robert Fico remains in surgery in critical condition

According to local media, Denník N, Robert Fico is still in surgery in a critical condition.

He was taken to the hospital in Bésztercebánya just before 4.00pm, after being shot following a political event in Handlova, where he was meeting with supporters.

Watch: Slovak Parliament is suspended until May 21 following the attack on PM Fico

Putin calls attack a ‘hideous crime’

Vladimir Putin has called the attack on Robert Fico a ‘hideous crime’.

The Russian leader offered his support following the incident and added there was no ‘justification’ to what happened.

I kindly request to convey to Prime Minister Fico the sincerest words of support, as well as wishes for a swift and full recovery.

This hideous crime can have no justication.

epa11342349 Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting on development of Russia's military industrial complex at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 15 May 2024.  EPA/VYACHESLAV PROKOFYEV /SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL MANDATORY CREDIT

Watch: The moment Slovakian PM is airlifted to hospital after the assassination attempt

Picture: Shooting suspect detained by police

TOPSHOT - This image taken from video footage obtained by AFPTV shows security personnel apprehending a suspected gunman (C/GROUND) after Slovakia's Prime Minister was shot in Handlova on May 15, 2024. Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico was battling life-threatening wounds after officials said he was shot multiple times in an assassination attempt condemned by European leaders. (Photo by RTVS / AFP) (Photo by -/RTVS/AFP via Getty Images)

A new photograph has emerged showing the shooting suspect detained by police following an attack on Robert Fico.

Slovakian media has reported the suspect is Juraj Cintula, a 71-year-old poet and writer, from Levice.

Watch: Robert Fico dragged into car after being shot

This is the moment Robert Fico was bundled into a car and taken to hospital moments after he was shot in Handlova.

A suspect, named in reports as 71-year-old Juraj Cintula, was detained at the scene.

Breaking:Shooting suspect is ’71-year-old poet who co-founded literary club’

A person is detained after a shooting incident of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, after a Slovak government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia, May 15, 2024. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa REFILE - QUALITY REPEAT

Fresh details about the suspect (pictured above) detained following the shooting of Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico have begun to emerge.

Slovak TV station JOJ24 reports the 71-year-old suspect is Juraj Cintula who co-founded a literary club in 2005 in which he served as chairman until 2016.

It is said he is a member of the Society of Slovak Writers and also worked as a driver in Levice.

Breaking:Slovakian President – ‘Hateful rhetoric leads to hateful acts’

Slovakia’s President Zuzana Čaputová has called for an end to hateful rhetoric as she described the shooting of the country’s Prime Minister as an ‘attack on democracy’

I am shocked. We are all shocked by the terrible and malicious attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Something happened, a seriousness that we probably can’t even comprehend yet. A physical attack on the Prime Minister is primarily an attack on a person, but also an attack on democracy. Any kind of violence is absolutely unacceptable.

The hateful rhetoric we witness in society leads to hateful acts. Please let’s stop it!

The police have arrested the perpetrator and will surely bring more information when possible. Please, let’s not make snap judgments until then. And let’s think about the most important thing, and that’s the only thing at this moment, that Róbert Fico recovers as soon as possible.

‘Unequivocally reprehensible’: Europe reacts to Mr Fico’s assassination attempt

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. Blinken arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday in an unannounced diplomatic mission to reassure Ukraine that it has American support as it struggles to defend against increasingly intense Russian attacks. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

European leaders have condemned the attack on Mr Fico following the shooting earlier today.

Here is some of the reaction we can bring you:

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (pictured), Ukrainian President

The attack on Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is appalling.

We strongly condemn this act of violence against our neighboring partner state’s head of government. Every effort should be made to ensure that violence does not become the norm in any country, form, or sphere.

We sincerely hope Robert Fico recovers soon and express our solidarity with the people of Slovakia.

Donald Tusk, Polish Prime Minister

Shocking news from Slovakia. Robert, my thoughts are with you in this very difficult moment.

Petr Pavel, Czech President

The attack on Robert Fico is unequivocally reprehensible, whatever the motivation. It should be a warning to us about how far the deepening of animosity and aggression in society can lead. I wish Robert Fico to come out of this incident without consequences.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General

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Shocked and appalled by the shooting of Prime Minister Robert Fico. I wish him strength for a speedy recovery. My thoughts are with Robert Fico, his loved ones, and the people of Slovakia.

In pictures: Robert Fico taken to hospital

These photographs show Robert Fico being transported to hospital after he was shot in an attempted assassination in Handlova earlier today.

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. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Jan Kroslak/TASR via AP)
Rescue workers wheel 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. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Jan Kroslak/TASR via AP)
Rescue workers wheel 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. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Jan Kroslak/TASR via AP)

Opposition MPs and journalists ‘blamed for shooting’

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico, centre, speaks with people before the cabinet's away-from-home session in the town of Handlova, Slovakia, Wednesday, May, 15, 2024. Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and injured after the away-from-home government meeting in Handlova, according to information confirmed by Parliamentary Vice-Chair Lubos Blaha, who suspended the House session. (Radovan Stoklasa/TASR via AP)

Slovakian media has reported that opposition MPs and journalists have been blamed for Mr Fico’s shooting by his political colleagues amid tensions in the country’s Parliament.

Mr Fico (pictured) was shot multiple times earlier today after he attended a government meeting in in the town of Handlova, some 150 kilometres north east of the capital Bratislava.

According to Slovakian newspaper Dennik N, otherwise known as Diary N, one of Mr Fico’s Smer colleagues Richard Glück told opposition MPs it was their fault while Slovak politician blamed journalists, referring to them as ‘disgusting bastards’

Watch: Witness heard ‘three shots’ before Mr Fico fell to the ground

We can now bring you video of a eyewitness recounting how she heard three gunshots before Mr Fico fell to the ground.

Slovak foreign minister confirms ‘violent attempt’ to take PM’s life

Slovakia’s foreign minister Juraj Blanár has confirmed there has been a ‘violent attempt’ to kill the country’s Prime Minister Robert Fico.

In pictures: Attempted assassination of Slovakian PM Robert Fico

Here are some pictures capturing the attempted assassination of Robert Fico in Slovakia earlier today.

The imges include the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Mr Fico being transported to hospital where he remains in critical condition and a suspect being detained by police.

Security officers move Slovak PM Robert Fico in a car after a shooting incident, after a Slovak government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia, May 15, 2024. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Slovakian PM Robert Fico is shot and wounded and taken to hospital as gunman is bundled to the ground while trying to flee
Rescue workers wheel 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. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Jan Kroslak/TASR via AP)
Police arrest a man after Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and injured following the cabinet's away-from-home session in the town of Handlova, Slovakia, Wednesday, May 15, 2024.  Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Radovan Stoklasa/TASR via AP)

Who is Robert Fico? The longest serving PM in Slovakia’s history

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks during a press conference after the cabinet's away-from-home session in the town of Handlova, Slovakia, Wednesday, May, 15, 2024. Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and injured after the away-from-home government meeting in Handlova, according to information confirmed by Parliamentary Vice-Chair Lubos Blaha, who suspended the House session. (Radovan Stoklasa/TASR via AP)

Here’s a brief rundown of Robert Fico – the Slovakian Prime Minister fighting for his life in hospital:

  • Robert Fico is a 59-year-old politician and current Slovakian Prime Minister. He is currently in his third premiership having already served 2006 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2018.
  • Mr Fico founded the Direction – Social Democracy party, known as Smer, in 1999 and has led the group since its inception.
  • Described as a populist amid comparisons with Donald Trump, Mr Fico has campaigned against immigration and LGBTQ+ rights.
  • His return to power last year was perceived as bad for Ukraine with Mr Fico believing the US and other nations should use their influence to force Russia and Ukraine to strike a compromise peace deal.
  • Mr Fico has previously opposed sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union and has lodged objections to Ukraine joining NATO.

Breaking:Suspect is 71-year-old man

Slovakian media are reporting the suspect detained following the shooting of the country’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is a 71-year-old man from Levice.

Sunak among world leaders to condemn attack

World leaders including Rishi Sunak have been quick to condemn the attack on Mr Fico.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have also released statements on their social media accounts.

Breaking:Slovak PM Robert Fico fighting for life after shooting

Officials in Slovakia have said Mr Fico’s condition is life threatening after he was shot multiple times earlier this afternoon.

In a statement provided to Denník N, a government spokesperson said:

At this moment, he is being transported by helicopter to Banská Bystrica, because it would take too long to get to Bratislava due to the necessity of an acute intervention.

The next few hours will decide.

Read: Slovakian PM ‘shot and wounded and taken to hospital’

Read our reporter Taryn Pedler’s breaking news story which will be constantly updated.

Slovakia PM shooting: Everything we know so far

FILE - Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks during a press conference with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the Carmelite Monastery in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico was wounded in a shooting Wednesday May 15, 2024 and taken to hospital. (AP Photo/Denes Erdos, File)

Here’s what we know so far about the attempted assassination of Slovakia’s Prime Minister:

  • Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico (above) is in hospital in a life-threatening condition after he was shot multiple times this afternoon in an assassination attempt.
  • Mr Fico was taken to hospital after he was attacked outside the House of Culture in the town of Handlova, some 150 kilometres north east of the capital
  • The 59-year-old had attended a government meeting and was reportedly speaking to people outside the building when the gunman opened fire.
  • A suspect was detained at the scene
  • Slovakia’s President Zuzana Caputova has said he is ‘shocked’ as he condemned the ‘brutal and ruthless’ attack

We will continue to bring you the latest developments

Good afternoon

Slovakian PM Robert Fico is shot and wounded and taken to hospital as gunman is bundled to the ground while trying to flee

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico has been shot and wounded in an assassination attempt.

Mr Fico was taken to hospital after he was struck by up to three bullets following a government meeting in Handlova, some 150 kilometres north-east of the capital Bratislava.

Follow MailOnline’s live coverage for the latest developments on this breaking news story.

Key Updates

  • Shooting suspect is ’71-year-old poet who co-founded literary club’

  • Slovakian President – ‘Hateful rhetoric leads to hateful acts’

  • ‘Unequivocally reprehensible’: Europe reacts to Mr Fico’s assassination attempt

  • Who is Robert Fico? The longest serving PM in Slovakia’s history

  • Slovak PM Robert Fico fighting for life after shooting

  • Read: Slovakian PM ‘shot and wounded and taken to hospital’

  • Slovakia PM shooting: Everything we know so far





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