Slovak Shooter Said He Attacked Premier Over His Ukraine Stance

(Bloomberg) -- The assailant charged with shooting Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said he acted out of frustration with the government’s policies, above all the premier’s decision to halt military support for Ukraine, a court document said.

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The suspect, identified as 71-year-old Juraj C., told investigators that he acted alone and had no intention of killing Fico, whom he shot at close range after a government meeting northeast of Bratislava on May 15, according to the document, which Bloomberg received after making a request to the court for information on the case.

Following the first such shooting of a European leader in more than two decades, Fico has been recovering in intensive care in central Slovakia. The 59-year-old premier suffered four gunshot wounds and his current condition is stable with a slight improvement, his office said Friday in an emailed statement.

As one of Europe’s most politically polarized nations grapples with the fallout from the attack, authorities have tried to piece together a motive. The claim that the assailant have acted on his own may undercut a suggestion by government authorities that the assassination attempt could have been part of a broader plot.

Read More: Slovak Lawmakers Unite Behind Condemnation of Premier’s Shooting

The attacker, who was wrestled to the ground by security guards after firing five shots at Fico’s abdomen, also expressed opposition to the prime minister’s decision to abolish a special prosecutor’s office and what he called persecution of culture and media workers.

Regarding Ukraine, he told investigators that he considers Fico’s nationalist-backed government “treacherous toward the European Union.”

Fico’s coalition leaders have lashed out at Slovakia’s opposition and media, whom they blame for the suspect’s radicalization. Defense Minister Robert Kalinak, a close ally whom Fico entrusted with leading the government temporarily, has repeatedly accused the media of vilifying the premier.

Still, lawmakers earlier this week unanimously backed a parliamentary resolution condemning the shooting, an effort to dial back political recriminations.

--With assistance from Piotr Skolimowski.

(Updated with report on Fico’s condition in the third paragraph.)

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