Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot multiple times and critically injured after an off-site government meeting in the central Slovak town of Handlova.

Reports described the attempted assassination as ‘politically motivated.’

“The suspected gunman was among a small crowd of people waiting to greet the prime minister on the street outside the cultural center, where the meeting took place, local media reported,” CNN stated.

WATCH:

Per CNN:

Footage from the scene shows the injured prime minister being bundled into a vehicle by his staff, before it speeds away with him inside. Fico was taken to a local hospital and then transferred by helicopter to a major trauma center about 20 miles (30 kilometers) away in Banska Bystrica. No one else was injured in the attack, officials said.

Both the country’s Defense Minister Robert Kaliňák and Interior Minister Matúš Šutaj Eštok called the shooting “politically motivated,” with Šutaj Eštok saying that “the suspect made the decision to do it shortly after the presidential election.”

Many social media users speculated on the potential motivation behind the attempted assassination.

Notably, Fico discussed conducting a criminal investigation into the government’s COVID-19 response.

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“During the Covid pandemic he became the country’s most prominent voice against masks, lockdowns and vaccination,” The Guardian noted.

“He was strongly against mandates & forced vaccinations, in January announced he’ll investigate Politicians and over purchase of medical devices & vaccines,” Efrat Fenigson commented.

“He strongly rejected WHO pandemic treaty and expanding the powers of the WHO,” she added.

WATCH:

Last week, reports indicated Slovakia would reject the World Health Organization’s pandemic treaty.

Another European Country To Reject WHO Pandemic Treaty

"The Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, had been shot. This comes days after Slovakia’s courageous rejection of the WHO’s audacious Pandemic Preparedness Treaty and International Health Regulations. We can’t be certain if these events are connected. But whoever is steering the WHO clearly views national sovereignty as an irritant, and human lives as disposable," Bret Weinstein said.

Fico is also against funding the war in Ukraine and rejected the European Union's migration rules.

"Robert Fico, the Slovak Prime Minister just shot and gravely injured, is one of the most interesting and heterodox figures in EU politics. Formerly a fairly standard left-liberal, he was elected on opposition to funding Ukraine's war and other EU dogma," Glenn Greenwald commented.

BBC reports:

The September 2023 election was won – partly – on a pledge to send "not one more round of ammunition" to Kyiv, promising to reverse the Slovak government’s policy of arming Ukraine with artillery shells, heavy weapons and even fighter jets.

And after he won those elections, forming a coalition with Peter Pellegrini - the man who had betrayed him - as well the ultra-nationalist Slovak National Party – he doubled down on that policy.

In February as the world marked the conflict’s second anniversary, Mr Fico reiterated his opposition to the west’s policy of arming Kyiv.

There was no military solution to the conflict, he said, and sending weapons to Ukraine would only fill more graves in the country’s cemeteries.

"Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on Tuesday refused to implement the European Union's new migration system in his country, a sign that tensions around the matter are set to remain high despite a reform sealed after years of talks," Reuters noted last month.

Per Reuters:

Approved last week by the European Parliament, the bloc's new migration pact promises to shorten security and asylum procedures and increase returns to reduce unwanted immigration from the Middle East and Africa, a high priority for the EU.

After eight years of feuds between the bloc's 27 member states, the pact lays out a delicate balance of rights and obligations between arrival countries such as Italy and rich destinations such as Germany.

Billed by the EU as a major win addressing concerns among citizens ahead of European Parliament elections in June, it allows countries unwilling to host any of the mostly Muslim new arrivals to pay instead.

"We are saying unequivocally that you cannot order a country that it must accept, in the Slovak case, up to 300 migrants you know nothing about, or pay 20,000 euros per each," Fico told a press conference after visiting the foreign ministry.

"That is not solidarity, that is dictate," said Fico, adding that his Smer-SSD party and Slovakia's ruling coalition would vote against related laws in the national parliament.

Updated reports indicated Fico is expected to survive the assassination attempt.

From France 24:

News outlet Aktuality.sk cited an unnamed source saying Fico was out of surgery and in stable condition.

Defence Minister Robert Kalinak told a news briefing hours earlier that Fico had suffered "serious polytrauma" after several shot wounds.

Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok had said earlier that Fico was in a life-threatening condition while he remained in the operating room.

"This assassination (attempt) was politically motivated and the perpetrator's decision was born closely after the presidential election," Sutaj Estok said, referring to an April election won by a Fico ally, Peter Pellegrini.

The shooting in the central Slovak town of Handlova, which Slovak media said was carried out by a 71-year-old man, stunned the small central European nation and drew international condemnation.

Slovakia, a member of NATO and the European Union, has little history of political violence. Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden joined Slovakia's EU partners in expressing shock and condemnation of the shooting.

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