Slovakia PM Robert Fico in ‘very serious’ condition after being shot

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is stable but his condition remains “very serious”, his deputy has said, after an assassination attempt that shocked the country and drew global condemnation.

Fico, 59, was shot five times in the central town of Handlova on Wednesday. He was in critical condition and underwent several hours of emergency surgery.

“During the night, doctors managed to stabilise the patient’s condition,” Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak said on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, the condition is still very serious as the injuries are complicated,” said Kalinak, who is also the defence minister.

A state security council meeting is scheduled for Thursday following the attack. The alleged attacker, a 71-year-old writer, was taken into custody.

Environment Minister Tomas Taraba told the BBC on Thursday that the operation had “gone well”. He said one bullet went through Fico’s stomach, and the second hit a joint during the attack after Fico left a government meeting.

The shooting was “politically motivated”, Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok said on Wednesday.

Pellegrini described the attack as an “unprecedented threat to Slovak democracy”.

“If we express other political opinions in squares, and not in polling stations, we are jeopardising everything that we have built together over 31 years of Slovak sovereignty,” Pellegrini said

Following the attack, Fico was rushed to a hospital in Handlova but was transferred by helicopter to the regional capital, Banska Bystrica, for urgent treatment.

Russia said it considered the attack “absolutely unacceptable”.

“This is really a great tragedy,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

Since returning as prime minister last October, his government has scaled back support for Ukraine while opening up dialogue with Russia, looked to lessen punishments for corruption, and is revamping the RTVS public broadcaster despite a call to protect media freedoms.

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