Slovak PM Fico Shot by Lone Wolf Gunman Over Ukraine Arms Policy, Says Interior Minister

PM Fico was shot multiple times by a 71-year-old attacker identified as Juraj Cintula, who was critical of Fico's stance on Ukraine. The incident, deemed politically motivated by authorities, occurred in Handlova, sparking condemnation from both the current & incoming presidents of Slovakia.

Bijay Laxmi
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Gunman Who Shot Slovak Prime Minister Criticized Suspension of Ukraine Military Aid, Says Interior Minister

A lone gunman critically injured Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico in a politically motivated attack on Wednesday, after the leader suspended military aid to Ukraine, according to Interior Minister Matuss Sutaj Estok. The 71-year-old suspect, identified as Juraj Cintula, opened fire at point-blank range as Fico greeted supporters in the town of Handlova. He was immediately arrested.

Sutaj Estok stated that Cintula protested Fico's decision to halt arms shipments to Ukraine and the closure of the Special Prosecutor's Office. "The perpetrator is charged with the premeditated crime of attempted murder. He stated these reasons why he disagrees with the government policy and why he decided to assassinate the Prime Minister," the minister said, describing Cintula as "the so-called lonely wolf" not linked to any groups.

The attack was likely accelerated by the recent victory of Fico ally Peter Pellegrini in the presidential election, according to Sutaj Estok. Both Pellegrini and outgoing President Zuzana Caputova, who has pro-Western leanings, condemned the shooting as a threat to democracy.

Why This Matters: The assassination attempt highlights the deep divisions in Slovak society over the Ukraine conflict and the government's stance on the war. It also raises concerns about the potential for political violence and the safety of public officials.

Key Takeaways:

  • Slovak PM Robert Fico was critically injured in a politically motivated shooting by a lone gunman.
  • The suspect, 71-year-old Juraj Cintula, protested Fico's suspension of military aid to Ukraine.
  • Interior Minister Sutaj Estok described Cintula as a "lone wolf" not linked to any groups.
  • The attack may have been accelerated by the election of Fico ally Peter Pellegrini as president.
  • Both Pellegrini and outgoing President Caputova condemned the shooting as a threat to democracy.