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Fico praises Orban in first public appearance since assassination attempt

by Abbey Fenbert and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 6, 2024 3:46 AM 2 min read
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico during the governmental consultations with the Ukrainian delegation in Michalovce, Slovakia, on April 11, 2024. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on July 5 made his first public appearance since being seriously injured in an assassination attempt in May.

Fico, 59, was shot in an assassination attempt as he walked out of a government meeting in the town of Handlova on May 15. The attack left the prime minister in serious condition, and he has since undergone two surgeries.

During his speech, Fico criticized what he referred to as liberal and progressive political ideologies and expressed praise for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Orban arrived in Moscow on July 5 for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, days after his first wartime visit to Kyiv.

During the Kyiv visit, Orban urged President Volodymyr Zelensky to consider a ceasefire, a suggestion Zelensky rejected.

Fico, a pro-Russian populist, assumed power in September 2023. His government halted military aid to Ukraine in a stark reversal of Slovak foreign policy.

"I don't want Slovakia to be among the countries that make a caricature of Western civilization," Fico said during his speech on July 5.

Slovak Defense Minister Robert Kalinak said on June 30 that Fico is "gradually getting closer" to being able to fully resume the job duties of prime minister.

Fico was shot by Juraj Cintula, a 71-year-old writer and political activist.

According to court documents cited by the Slovak news outlet Pravda, Cintula said he had no intention of murdering Fico but instead wanted to "harm his health."

Cintula reportedly told authorities that shot Fico because he disagreed with "certain policies" of the current government.

‘It really is insane:’ Ex-defense minister on Slovakia’s pro-Russian turn
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. When Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, neighboring Slovakia, with its own experience of decades of Russian occupation in the 20th century, became one of the staunchest supporters of Ukraine. Under the guidan…

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