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Security personnel apprehending a suspected gunman after Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot in Handlova, Slovakia, on May 15, 2024. (AFP via Getty Images)
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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and critically injured in a shooting in the town of Handlova in Slovakia on May 15, lawmakers confirmed to the Slovak news agency Tasr.

Tasr said that the parliament's session was suspended as a result.

Shortly after, the Dennik N media outlet reported that Fico was shot in the stomach and also had injuries to his arms and legs and is in a life-threatening condition.

Fico's Facebook page was updated with the news that the prime minister is being transported by helicopter to Banska Bystrica due to the seriousness of his injuries, and that the "next few hours will (be decisive)."

A 71-year-old man is reportedly suspected of carrying out what Slovak government officials have called an assassination attempt and has been detained. Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok said the attack was "politically motivated."

President-elect Peter Pellegrini, an ally of Fico's, said the shooting was a threat to Slovakia's democracy.

"I am appalled at where hatred for a different political opinion can lead," Pellegrini said.

International leaders immediately reacted to the news and offered their support to Fico and Slovakia.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Fico's shooting was "appalling," and added that "we strongly condemn this act of violence against our neighboring partner state's head of government."

Many also linked hostile political rhetoric to the attack.

Czech President Petr Pavel said the attack on 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."

Estok urged the public to "stop attacks and hatred on social networks and media," and warned that the attack was a sign that "we are on the verge of civil war."

Elected in September 2023 on a populist, Ukraine-skeptic platform, Fico halted arms supplies from Slovakia's military stocks and has repeatedly criticized both defense assistance for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.

Fico has since expressed support for Ukraine's accession to the EU.

Fico: Slovakia fully supports Ukraine’s EU membership
Bratislava will not block Kyiv’s accession to the European Union, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said during a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Denys Shmyhal in Slovakia on April 11.
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