Is this Europe’s new Franz Ferdinand moment? How Putin could jump on the shooting of Slovakia’s PM to start WW3

1 View
4 Min Read


Yesterday’s attempted assassination of Slovakia’s Prime Minister has sparked fears that Europe may see another ‘Franz Ferdinand’ moment amid soaring political tensions and an ever-deepening East-West divide.

The murder of the Austro-Hungarian Archduke and his wife as they drove through Sarajevo on a summer’s day in 1914 is widely seen as the catalyst that triggered World War I and led to the deaths of some 20 million people.

Now almost 110 years later, Slovakian Premier Robert Fico is fighting for his life in critical condition after he was shot five times in a ‘politically motivated’ assassination attempt outside government offices as he greeted supporters north-east of the capital Bratislava.

The shooter, 71-year-old Juraj Cintula from Levice, could be seen waiting at a barrier for the PM to approach before drawing his weapon in footage published by Slovak outlet RTV Prievidza.

Despite being flanked by five guards, Cintula managed to fire off five shots at point-blank range before being taken down by the PM’s security detail.

The heinous attack on the pro-Putin PM – who is an outspoken critic of Western support for Kyiv and ran an anti-American and anti-EU campaign for his re-election – comes at arguably the most delicate time in recent European history, as Russia’s war in Ukraine rages just across the Slovakian border.

The prime minister was rushed to a nearby hospital in a helicopter following the shooting and underwent lifesaving surgery.

Slovakia’s deputy prime minister Tomas Taraba said this morning that Mr Fico is ‘not in [a] life-threatening situation at this moment’.

‘As far as I know, the operation went well and I guess that at the end he will survive,’ he told the BBC.

Mr Taraba added that Mr Fico was shot ‘from very close’ and that ‘one bullet went through the stomach and the second one hit the joint’.

Yesterday, the country’s interior minister Matus Sutaj Estok suggested during a press conference outside the hospital treating Fico that preliminary information ‘clearly’ points to a ‘political motivation’.

Speaking prior to Fico’s surgery, defence minister Robert Kalinak said there was ‘no good news at the moment’ and that he had placed trust ‘in the hands of the medical specialists’ as he appealed to the public to ‘pray’ for Fico’s recovery.

Mr Kalinak continued that ‘no one wants a Slovakia like this’ and he can’t ‘find the words’ for the ‘madness’ that is being witnessed.

In videos published online, Fico can be seen stumbling backwards after the first shot, before tripping over a bench behind him and falling to the ground, as armed security piles in from all sides.

Onlookers can be seen jumping back in horror and scrambling to avoid further gunfire.

Moments later, a black car came screeching into view and security guards hauled the prime minister’s slumped body into the back seat and drove him to meet an air ambulance.

Shortly after news of the shooting broke, world leaders began to send well-wishes to the PM while condemning the attack.

Read More: Is this Europe’s new Franz Ferdinand moment?

 Read More

Share This Article
Leave a comment