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Slovak PM Robert Fico says could return to work ‘in several weeks’ | News

In his first public speech since surviving the assassination attempt, Fico says he feels “no hatred” toward his attacker.

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico posted a speech online, his first appearance since he was seriously injured in an assassination attempt three weeks ago.

In a pre-recorded speech on his Facebook page on Wednesday, before the European Parliament elections, Fico said the attack caused serious damage to his health and that “it will be a small miracle if I return to work in several weeks.”

Fico has been recovering from multiple wounds after being shot in the abdomen while greeting supporters on May 15 in the town of Handlova, about 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of the capital, Bratislava.

The attacker, identified by prosecutors as Juraj C, 71, was arrested at the scene and charged with attempted premeditated murder.

Fico, apparently in good shape as he spoke, pledged to return to work in late June or early July and said he felt “no hate” toward his attacker.

“I forgive him,” he said, adding that he did not plan to take legal action against the attacker.

Supporters bring flowers and gifts as they gather near the FD Roosevelt University Hospital, where Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was hospitalized following an assassination attempt, in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia (File: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)

Still, he harshly criticized the opposition and others, saying: “After all, it is evident that he was only a messenger of evil and political hatred.”

Fico suggested that his views on Russia’s war against Ukraine and other issues that differ sharply from the European mainstream had made him a victim.

Fico was discharged from the hospital in the central city of Banska Bystrica last week and transferred to his home in Bratislava, where he continues to recover.

A video of the attack shows him approaching people gathered at the barricades and reaching out to shake their hands as a man steps forward, extends his arm and fires five bullets before being tackled and arrested.

Fico immediately underwent a five-hour surgery, followed by another two-hour surgery two days later.

The incident has highlighted the deep polarization of politics in the central European country of 5.4 million people.

Opposition parties have led protests against Fico’s government as it changes policy by suspending military aid to Ukraine, ending a special prosecutor’s office despite concerns about the rule of law and revamping the state radio station and television.

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