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Slovak PM Fico claims his anti-Ukrainian stance sparked his assassination attempt

Slovak PM Fico, in his first speech since the assassination attempt, speculates that he was targeted for his anti-Ukraine position contradicting European mainstream.
prorussian slovak pm fico shot hospitalized after government meeting attack robert press conference handlov 15 may 2024 afternoon photo tasr via denik n
Slovak PM Robert Fico at a press conference in Handlová on 15 May 2024 afternoon. Photo: TASR via Denik N
Slovak PM Fico claims his anti-Ukrainian stance sparked his assassination attempt

In his first public remarks since surviving an assassination attempt three weeks ago, Slovakia’s populist pro-Russian Prime Minister Robert Fico claimed he believes he was targeted for holding views on Ukraine contrary to the European mainstream. However, he claims he bears no ill-will towards the gunman who seriously wounded him, according to AP.

The shooting occurred on 15 May as Fico was greeting supporters in the town of Handlová. He was shot in the abdomen and hospitalized, with authorities initially describing it as a “lone wolf” attack before later suggesting a “third party” may have been involved in the attack.  Slovak authorities haven’t disclosed the identity of the perpetrator, but reports from the media identified him as Juraj Cintula, a 71-year-old poet and writer from Slovakia.

Speaking in a prerecorded speech posted online on 5 June, just days ahead of European Parliament elections in Slovakia, Fico claimed his positions sharply differing from the EU’s Ukraine support consensus made him a victim. Key among those positions are his opposition to military aid for Ukraine and sanctions on Russia over its invasion, as well as his stance against Ukraine joining NATO.

It’s cruel to state this, but the right to have a different opinion has ceased to exist in the European Union,” Fico said, blaming unspecified Western countries for the alleged situation and claiming he felt “no hatred” towards his attacker, planned no legal action, and forgives him.

He took a particularly hardline anti-Ukraine stance after his coalition government assumed power last October, ending Slovakia’s military support to Kyiv.

Pro-Russian Slovak PM Fico shot, hospitalized after government meeting attack

Fico is recovering at home after being discharged from hospital last week and aims to return to work in about a month.

Since taking office last year, Fico has halted military aid to Ukraine, advocated for “peace talks” with Russia, promised to veto Ukraine’s NATO membership, and did not support the Czech initiative to buy shells for the Ukrainian military, in response to which Slovak citizens crowdfunded more than 4 million euro to contribute to the shell purchase. Fico’s policies, including plans to overhaul public broadcasting and eliminate a special anti-corruption prosecutor, have sparked large protests across Slovakia.

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