Fico’s condition ‘no longer life-threatening’ – Slovak deputy PM

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The condition of Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico is no longer life-threatening, the EU country’s deputy prime minister Tomas Taraba has told British state broadcaster the BBC. There was an attempt on his life earlier this week.

Fico was shot several times on Wednesday as he approached a crowd in the city of Handlova in central Slovakia. The prime minister was rushed to a hospital and doctors have been fighting for his life since.

The assailant, who was detained on the spot, turned out to be 71-year-old left-wing activist Juraj Cintula. He reportedly strongly disagreed with Fico’s decision to stop arms shipments to Ukraine.

The prime minister is “not in a life-threatening situation at this moment,” Taraba said on Sunday. “Fortunately, as far as I know, the operation went well – and I guess in the end he will survive,” he added.

According to the deputy prime minister, Fico was “heavily injured” in the attack. “One bullet went thought the stomach and the second one hit a joint – he was immediately transported to the hospital and then operated-on,” he said.

Milan Urbani, deputy head of the hospital where the Slovak leader is being treated, said earlier on Sunday that the board of doctors had ruled that “the patient is currently no longer in a life-threatening state.”

Urbani described Fico’s condition as “very serious,” saying that the 59-year-old “needs a lot of time and peace to recover.” However, he stressed that the doctors believe that “everything will develop in a positive direction.”

Earlier in the day, around a hundred people gathered outside the hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica to support Fico and thank the doctors who are taking care of him, police said. Well-wishers brought flowers to the rally, according to media reports.

Fico, who returned to power last year, is a polarizing figure both in Slovakia and the EU, due to his position regarding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which he insists must be settled through peaceful means, and due to his intention to mend relations with Moscow.