New Surgery for Slovak PM as Condition ‘Still Very Serious’

Fri May 17 2024
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BRATISLAVA: Two days after surviving an assassination attempt, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is still in critical condition. The attack occurred while the 59-year-old leader was interacting with the public after a meeting in Handlova.

Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak shared updates, revealing that Fico underwent extensive surgery and continues to receive medical attention. “He was operated on again, he had an almost two-hour-long operation,” Robert Kalinak told reporters outside the hospital in Banska Bystrica. He had previously undergone a five-hour-long surgery, shortly after being airlifted from the scene of the attack on Wednesday.

The alleged assailant’s residence was raided by Slovak police, accompanied by the suspect himself, clad in protective gear. The investigation remains ongoing, with 71-year-old writer Juraj Cintula identified as the charged individual. Authorities deem the attack politically motivated, with Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok characterizing the perpetrator as a lone actor driven by dissatisfaction with recent political events.

The incident has sparked concerns over potential unrest in Slovakia, especially with European Parliament elections looming. President-elect Peter Pellegrini has called for a temporary halt or reduction in campaigning activities, a sentiment echoed by several political parties, including the largest opposition faction, Progressive Slovakia.

Fico’s return to power in October has been marked by strained relations with Ukraine, exacerbated by contentious remarks questioning Ukraine’s sovereignty. This tension led to Slovakia halting arms exports to Ukraine, a country grappling with Russian aggression since 2022.

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