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Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico has been shot and wounded in an assassination attempt this afternoon moments after he left a meeting of MPs.

Mr Fico was taken to hospital after he was struck by bullets to his abdomen shortly after he attended a government meeting in Handlova, some 150 kilometres north-east of the capital Bratislava.

Follow MailOnline’s live coverage for the latest developments on this breaking news story

Breaking:Slovakian President – ‘Hateful rhetoric leads to hateful acts’

Slovakia’s President Zuzana Čaputová has called for an end to hateful rhetoric as she described the shooting of the country’s Prime Minister as an ‘attack on democracy’

I am shocked. We are all shocked by the terrible and malicious attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Something happened, a seriousness that we probably can’t even comprehend yet. A physical attack on the Prime Minister is primarily an attack on a person, but also an attack on democracy. Any kind of violence is absolutely unacceptable.

The hateful rhetoric we witness in society leads to hateful acts. Please let’s stop it!

The police have arrested the perpetrator and will surely bring more information when possible. Please, let’s not make snap judgments until then. And let’s think about the most important thing, and that’s the only thing at this moment, that Róbert Fico recovers as soon as possible.

‘Unequivocally reprehensible’: Europe reacts to Mr Fico’s assassination attempt

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. Blinken arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday in an unannounced diplomatic mission to reassure Ukraine that it has American support as it struggles to defend against increasingly intense Russian attacks. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

European leaders have condemned the attack on Mr Fico following the shooting earlier today.

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Here is some of the reaction we can bring you:

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (pictured), Ukrainian President

The attack on Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is appalling.

We strongly condemn this act of violence against our neighboring partner state’s head of government. Every effort should be made to ensure that violence does not become the norm in any country, form, or sphere.

We sincerely hope Robert Fico recovers soon and express our solidarity with the people of Slovakia.

Donald Tusk, Polish Prime Minister

Shocking news from Slovakia. Robert, my thoughts are with you in this very difficult moment.

Petr Pavel, Czech President

The attack on Robert Fico is unequivocally reprehensible, whatever the motivation. It should be a warning to us about how far the deepening of animosity and aggression in society can lead. I wish Robert Fico to come out of this incident without consequences.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General

Shocked and appalled by the shooting of Prime Minister Robert Fico. I wish him strength for a speedy recovery. My thoughts are with Robert Fico, his loved ones, and the people of Slovakia.

In pictures: Robert Fico taken to hospital

These photographs show Robert Fico being transported to hospital after he was shot in an attempted assassination in Handlova earlier today.

Rescue workers take Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia, Wednesday, May 15, 2024. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Jan Kroslak/TASR via AP)
Rescue workers wheel Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia, Wednesday, May 15, 2024. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Jan Kroslak/TASR via AP)
Rescue workers wheel Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia, Wednesday, May 15, 2024. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Jan Kroslak/TASR via AP)

Opposition MPs and journalists ‘blamed for shooting’

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico, centre, speaks with people before the cabinet's away-from-home session in the town of Handlova, Slovakia, Wednesday, May, 15, 2024. Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and injured after the away-from-home government meeting in Handlova, according to information confirmed by Parliamentary Vice-Chair Lubos Blaha, who suspended the House session. (Radovan Stoklasa/TASR via AP)

Slovakian media has reported that opposition MPs and journalists have been blamed for Mr Fico’s shooting by his political colleagues amid tensions in the country’s Parliament.

Mr Fico (pictured) was shot multiple times earlier today after he attended a government meeting in in the town of Handlova, some 150 kilometres north east of the capital Bratislava.

According to Slovakian newspaper Dennik N, otherwise known as Diary N, one of Mr Fico’s Smer colleagues Richard Glück told opposition MPs it was their fault while Slovak politician blamed journalists, referring to them as ‘disgusting bastards’

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Watch: Witness heard ‘three shots’ before Mr Fico fell to the ground

We can now bring you video of a eyewitness recounting how she heard three gunshots before Mr Fico fell to the ground.

Slovak foreign minister confirms ‘violent attempt’ to take PM’s life

Slovakia’s foreign minister Juraj Blanár has confirmed there has been a ‘violent attempt’ to kill the country’s Prime Minister Robert Fico.

In pictures: Attempted assassination of Slovakian PM Robert Fico

Here are some pictures capturing the attempted assassination of Robert Fico in Slovakia earlier today.

The imges include the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Mr Fico being transported to hospital where he remains in critical condition and a suspect being detained by police.

Security officers move Slovak PM Robert Fico in a car after a shooting incident, after a Slovak government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia, May 15, 2024. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Slovakian PM Robert Fico is shot and wounded and taken to hospital as gunman is bundled to the ground while trying to flee
Rescue workers wheel Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia, Wednesday, May 15, 2024. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Jan Kroslak/TASR via AP)
Police arrest a man after Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and injured following the cabinet's away-from-home session in the town of Handlova, Slovakia, Wednesday, May 15, 2024.  Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Radovan Stoklasa/TASR via AP)

Who is Robert Fico? The longest serving PM in Slovakia’s history

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks during a press conference after the cabinet's away-from-home session in the town of Handlova, Slovakia, Wednesday, May, 15, 2024. Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and injured after the away-from-home government meeting in Handlova, according to information confirmed by Parliamentary Vice-Chair Lubos Blaha, who suspended the House session. (Radovan Stoklasa/TASR via AP)

Here’s a brief rundown of Robert Fico – the Slovakian Prime Minister fighting for his life in hospital:

  • Robert Fico is a 59-year-old politician and current Slovakian Prime Minister. He is currently in his third premiership having already served 2006 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2018.
  • Mr Fico founded the Direction – Social Democracy party, known as Smer, in 1999 and has led the group since its inception.
  • Described as a populist amid comparisons with Donald Trump, Mr Fico has campaigned against immigration and LGBTQ+ rights.
  • His return to power last year was perceived as bad for Ukraine with Mr Fico believing the US and other nations should use their influence to force Russia and Ukraine to strike a compromise peace deal.
  • Mr Fico has previously opposed sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union and has lodged objections to Ukraine joining NATO.

Breaking:Suspect is 71-year-old man

Slovakian media are reporting the suspect detained following the shooting of the country’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is a 71-year-old man from Levice.

Sunak among world leaders to condemn attack

World leaders including Rishi Sunak have been quick to condemn the attack on Mr Fico.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have also released statements on their social media accounts.

Breaking:Slovak PM Robert Fico fighting for life after shooting

Officials in Slovakia have said Mr Fico’s condition is life threatening after he was shot multiple times earlier this afternoon.

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In a statement provided to Denník N, a government spokesperson said:

At this moment, he is being transported by helicopter to Banská Bystrica, because it would take too long to get to Bratislava due to the necessity of an acute intervention.

The next few hours will decide.

Read: Slovakian PM ‘shot and wounded and taken to hospital’

Read our reporter Taryn Pedler’s breaking news story which will be constantly updated.

Slovakia PM shooting: Everything we know so far

FILE - Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks during a press conference with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the Carmelite Monastery in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico was wounded in a shooting Wednesday May 15, 2024 and taken to hospital. (AP Photo/Denes Erdos, File)

Here’s what we know so far about the attempted assassination of Slovakia’s Prime Minister:

  • Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico (above) is in hospital in a life-threatening condition after he was shot multiple times this afternoon in an assassination attempt.
  • Mr Fico was taken to hospital after he was attacked outside the House of Culture in the town of Handlova, some 150 kilometres north east of the capital
  • The 59-year-old had attended a government meeting and was reportedly speaking to people outside the building when the gunman opened fire.
  • A suspect was detained at the scene
  • Slovakia’s President Zuzana Caputova has said he is ‘shocked’ as he condemned the ‘brutal and ruthless’ attack

We will continue to bring you the latest developments

Good afternoon

Slovakian PM Robert Fico is shot and wounded and taken to hospital as gunman is bundled to the ground while trying to flee

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico has been shot and wounded in an assassination attempt.

Mr Fico was taken to hospital after he was struck by up to three bullets following a government meeting in Handlova, some 150 kilometres north-east of the capital Bratislava.

Follow MailOnline’s live coverage for the latest developments on this breaking news story.

Key Updates

  • Slovakian President – ‘Hateful rhetoric leads to hateful acts’

  • ‘Unequivocally reprehensible’: Europe reacts to Mr Fico’s assassination attempt

  • Who is Robert Fico? The longest serving PM in Slovakia’s history

  • Slovak PM Robert Fico fighting for life after shooting

  • Read: Slovakian PM ‘shot and wounded and taken to hospital’

  • Slovakia PM shooting: Everything we know so far

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