They are assassinating leaders in Europe again, as Slovak Prime Minister Wounded in Assassination Attempt

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BANSKA BYSTRICA, Slovakia – Slovakia’s populist Prime Minister, Robert Fico, was shot multiple times and critically injured on Wednesday while meeting supporters at an event, in an attempted assassination that has shocked the nation and reverberated across Europe just weeks before an election.

Fico, 59, was struck in the abdomen during the attack outside a cultural center in the town of Handlova, nearly 140 kilometers northeast of the capital. The incident occurred as Fico was attending a government meeting in the town, once a coal mining hub.

Defense Minister Robert Kalina stated that doctors were still battling to save Fico’s life several hours after the shooting, describing his condition as “extraordinarily serious.” Fico was undergoing surgery at a hospital in Banska Bystrica, 29 kilometers from the site of the attack.

According to Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok, a suspect is in custody, and initial investigations suggest a clear political motive behind the assassination attempt.

Fico, who is known for his pro-Russian stance and anti-Western sentiments, returned to power last year for a fourth term, drawing concerns from European Union members about Slovakia’s alignment with the West. His policies, including halting arms deliveries to Ukraine, have sparked protests across Slovakia.

The attack on Fico comes amid heightened political tensions in Slovakia, exacerbated by deep social divisions and the ongoing conflict in neighboring Ukraine. The incident has prompted widespread condemnation from leaders around the world, including U.S. President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Slovakia’s Parliament has been adjourned indefinitely, and opposition parties have canceled planned protests to show solidarity in the wake of the assassination attempt.

The attempted assassination of Fico, one of the longest-serving heads of government in Slovakia’s history, has underscored concerns about rising political violence and division in the region.