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Slovakia: Robert Fico makes first comments since shooting

June 5, 2024

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said in a video posted to Facebook he hopes to return to work at the end of June following an assassination attempt last month. He said blamed the attack on opposition parties.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico looks straight at the camera
Robert Fico posted a pre-recorded speech to social media, marking his first comments since being shot in MayImage: REUTERS

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on Wednesday called the man who attacked him an activist of opposition parties, in his first comments since an assassination attempt on his life.

Fico was shot four times at close range on May 15, with prosecutors identifying 71-year old Juraj C. as his alleged assailant. He has been charged with premeditated attempted murder and remanded in custody.

In a video message on Facebook, the prime minister said he felt "no hatred" toward his shooter and that he expected to gradually begin to return to work at the end of June.

What else did Robert Fico say?

Fico thanked medical staff who treated him after he underwent two lengthy surgeries and remained in recovery until he was transferred to home treatment on May 31.

He said the man who attacked him was not a "lone wolf" or "some madman," but "a messenger of the evil and political hatred" fostered by the political opposition.

"On May 15, a Slovak opposition activist tried to assassinate me in Handlova because of my political views," Fico said. 

"I feel no hatred towards the stranger who shot me. I forgive him and let him sort out what he did and why he did it in his own head."

"If everything goes optimally, I could gradually return to work at the turn of June and July," he added.

Slovakia election: Former PM Fico secures victory

"The opposition was unable to assess ... where their aggressive and hateful politics has led a section of society," Fico continued in his video speech. 

"It was only a matter of time before a tragedy would occur. If it continues as it is now, the horror of May 15 ... will continue and there will be more victims. I don't doubt it, not for a second."

Fico also suggested in the 14-minute video that he was targeted for his views on Russia's war in Ukraine, which differ from the European mainstream.

He opposes EU sanctions on Russia and ended his country's military aid for Ukraine after being sworn in last October.

Fico is currently serving his third term as Slovak prime minister, having previously held the post in 2006-10 and 2012-18.

He resigned in 2018 after an investigative journalist's murder exposed high-level corruption, but he returned again to office in October 2023.

Ties between Slovakia and Ukraine soured soon after his return, as Fico questioned his neighbor's sovereignty and called for a compromise with Moscow, which invaded Ukraine in 2022.

km/nm (Reuters, AFP)