How assassination attempt on pro-Putin Slovakia PM ‘plays RIGHT into Kremlin’s hands’ as Vlad’s propagandists blame West

How assassination attempt on pro-Putin Slovakia PM ‘plays RIGHT into Kremlin’s hands’ as Vlad’s propagandists blame West
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THE attempted assassination of Slovakia’s pro-Putin prime minister is playing right into Moscow’s hands as Vlad’s propagandists are blaming the “evil” West.

Robert Fico is fighting for his life in hospital after yesterday’s attack – but the Kremlin is seizing on the moment to try and divide Europe, a Russia expert warned.

AP

Slovakian PM Robert Fico, 59, was gunned down in a brazen assassination attempt on Wednesday[/caption]

The moment the PM was shot at five times
The moment the PM was shot at five times by would-be assassin Juraj Cintula
AFP

Dr Kevin Riehle told The Sun that Russia will try to use the attack to spark anti-Western divisions[/caption]

Reuters

He argued that the attacker could be a lone wolf but Russia will try to pin the shooting as part of a pro-Ukrainian plot[/caption]

AFP

Vlad will blame an ‘evil, divided West’ for Cintula’s actions, the expert said[/caption]

Dr Kevin Riehle from Brunel University, argued that Russia was already capitalising on the moment to claim the attack on Fico was a “political-sponsored event”.

Speaking to The Sun, the eastern European expert said this was an “easy play” for the Kremlin to push home the narrative that the West is the aggressor and Russia is the victim.

Yesterday afternoon, Fico, 59, was leaving a government meeting in the town of Hanilova when a gunman suddenly fired five shots in quick succession before being leapt on by the PM’s bodyguards.

Today, president-elect Peter Pellegrini revealed the populist PM was stable but remains in a “serious condition” and said it is too soon to tell whether he will live.

He was shot in the abdomen, arm and leg and two teams or surgeons worked for five hours to save the Putin ally.

The would-be assassin has been unmasked as Juraj Cintula, 71, a pro-Russian Slovakian poet.

The bearded shooter was today charged with attempted murder. But mystery still remains over his motives.

Riehle stated that Kremlin propagandists have already been hard at work spewing claims the shooter was pro-EU and pro-Ukrainian which “by definition is anti-Russian”.

He said: “What will happen next is Russia will push on that theme hard and use it to further divide the EU to show that pro-EU parties are violent and they are at fault.

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“This falls into the Russian narrative that ‘Russia is the victim, Russia is not the aggressor, the aggressors are the immoral EU parties… and this is a manifestation of that evil EU’.


“It will be an easy play for the Kremlin to push for the next few days to try to show how badly divided the EU.”

Putin was quick to brand the attack a “monstrous crime” and said he hoped his friend would recover quickly.

“I know Robert Fico to be a courageous and strong-spirited man. I very much hope that these qualities will help him to withstand this difficult situation.”

Fico was quickly bundled into a car after he was hit in the stomach
Fico was quickly bundled into a car after he was hit in the stomach, leg and arm
AP

Fico was later airlifted to hospital with life-threatening wounds[/caption]

Facebook/ Slovenskí Branci

Cintula has been unmasked as anti-violence, pro-Russian poet – his motives remain unclear[/caption]

LONE WOLF?

Questioned on whether Cintula was a lone wolf, Riehle was hesitant to speculate but said it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume he acted alone.

“There’s a lot of tension in Slovakia right now because of the recent election… Fico has strong opposition against him.

“There’s enough tension there now that someone might actually decide on his own to take care of the prime minister.”

It emerged last night that former security guard Cintula was a member of pro-Russian paramilitary group Slovenskí Branci, known for its links to the Kremlin.

The expert added: “I don’t think there is proof to go either direction… but the Moscow message is going to be that it was a concerted effort to remove him.”

WHAT NOW?

In terms of next steps, Riehle explained that there are four deputy prime minister’s who could step into Fico’s place who all belong to his party and “follow his Russia-leaning policies”.

Right now, however the message across parties in Slovakia is one to trying to de-escalate tensions in the wake of the shooting.

“They are trying to avoid this from becoming a violent divisive issue inside that country….to calm the situation”.

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Yesterday, Slovakian president Zuzana Caputova condemned the “brutal and ruthless” attack, calling the shooting on her political partner an “attack on democracy”.

Interior minister Matus Sutaj Estok labelled the shocking event the “saddest moment” in Slovakia’s 31-year history.

He echoed the president’s thoughts saying: “An attack on Slovakia is an attack on democracy, on the state itself.”

British PM Rishi Sunak spoke of his “shock” over the shooting, US President Joe Biden called it an “horrific act of violence” and EU president Ursula von der Leyen branded it “vile”.

President Volodymyr Zelensky also condemned the shooting, despite Fico leading a campaign against arming Ukraine against Moscow’s invasion and bizarrely claiming that Kyiv was not “at war”.

A PRO-PUTIN LEADER

Fico returned to power in Slovakia last September for the third time as the head of a populist-nationalist coalition.

But his first few months as prime minister has proved deeply controversial.

In January, he halted military aid to Ukraine, insisting life in Kyiv was “absolutely normal” and there was no war.

He asked: “You seriously think there is war in Kyiv? You are joking, please, I hope you are not being serious.

“Go there and you will find out there is normal life in the city, absolutely normal life.”

The divisive figure’s campaign call of “Not a single round” for Ukraine appealed to voters in the Nato nation of 5.5million where only a minority believe Russia is at fault for the Ukraine war.

His political ally, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, claimed today he would “fight for peace alone” in the wake of the shooting.

Alongside Fico, he has condemned what he says is the EU’s fuelling of the war in Ukraine through their support of Kyiv.

“Today we must fight for peace alone… with twice the strength,” Orban declared.

Orban is the only EU leader to have maintained close ties with the Kremlin following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He has drawn fierce criticism from other EU members for having refused to send weapons to Kyiv, advocating for peace talks instead.

Who is Slovakian PM Robert Fico?

By Ellie Doughty

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SLOVAKIAN prime minister Robert Fico won his country’s elections in September 2023 on a platform of pro-Russian and anti-Western sentiment.

It was his fourth term as prime minister leading the divisive Smer – meaning “Direction” – party.

The controversial leader, whose policies have been met with country-wide protests, is a supporter of Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin.

In January 2024 he said the only way to end the Ukraine war would be for President Volodymyr Zelensky’s brave forces to give some of their land to Russian invaders.

He has also opposed Nato membership for Ukraine and said the nation is “not an independent and sovereign country”.

Fico said at the time: “What do they expect, that the Russians will leave Crimea, Donbas and Luhansk? That’s unrealistic.”

Before taking power in December, he promised to stop sending weapons to Ukraine.

He also assured voters he would block any attempts by Kyiv to join Nato and would oppose sanctions against Russia.

In a shocking claim, Fico said Ukraine joining the European military alliance would be “a basis for World War III, nothing else”.

Sickeningly, Fico has claimed that Ukraine – which has been fighting off Russia’s illegal invasion for more than two years – is “one of the most corrupt nations in the world”.

In stark contrast to the war-ravaged experiences of countless Ukrainians, Fico once claimed: “there’s no war in Kyiv,” describing life in the capital as “absolutely normal”.

He has also vowed to enforce a strict stance against migration and NGOs, and has campaigned against the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

Notorious for tirades against journalists, Fico has previously dubbed a major television network, two national newspapers, and an online news outlet as his “enemies”.

Facebook/ Slovenskí Branci

Would-be assassin Juraj Cintula[/caption]

The alleged suspect is said to be a 71-year-old Slovakian
The shooter pictured pinned to the ground after the shooting

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