Slovak PM Blames Opposition for Shooting, Warns of More Victims

(Bloomberg) -- Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was badly injured in an assassination attempt last month, defiantly vowed to stick to his at times controversial policies when he returns to work as early as this month.

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In his first public remarks since the May 15 shooting, Fico lambasted opposition lawmakers and what he called anti-government media. He said the assailant, 71-year-old retiree Juraj C., was “a messenger of evil and political hatred.”

“It is to be expected that anti-government media, non-governmental organizations funded from abroad, and the opposition will begin to downplay the attempt on my life, claiming there were no connections between the attacker and the opposition,” Fico said in a video published Wednesday by his office.

“If the opposition persists in its current stance, the horror of May 15 will continue, and there will be more victims. I have no doubt about that, not for a second.”

Fico, who has dominated Slovak politics since the fall of communism more than three decades ago, has campaigned to stop the country’s military aid to Ukraine, threatening to undermine European Union unity on helping the government in Kyiv.

In the 14-minute video, Fico accused “some large Western democracies” of interference in domestic Slovak affairs and of attempting to squash views that did not align with their own.

“I reject external interference in countries that have decided to go their own way,” said Fico, adding that “the right to a different opinion” had ceased to exist in the EU.

“Currently, there is only one correct opinion, which is that the war in Ukraine must continue at all costs with the aim of weakening the Russian Federation,” he said.

“Anyone who does not agree with this opinion is immediately labeled as a Russian agent and internationally politically marginalized.”

Opposition leader Michal Simecka expressed disappointment with Fico’s statement.

“The prime minister blamed the media, the opposition, artists, the EU, and our foreign partners,” Simecka said in remarks distributed by his office. He urged Fico to actively pursue “social reconciliation.”

(Updates with additional Fico comments, details throughout)

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