Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico makes first trip outside capital after assassination attempt



BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Slovakia’s populist prime minister Robert Fico made his first trip outside the capital on Monday since resuming duties after an attempted murder.

Fico, together with Agriculture Minister Richard Takáč, visited a farm in Slovenska Nova Ves, northeast of the capital Bratislava, to check the grain harvest.

Fico said in a short statement that Slovakia is not ready to lift the ban on agricultural imports from Ukraine and thanked farmers for their work.

He used a cane and did not answer questions from the media.

It was his first official visit outside the capital since recovering from the May 15 attack, in which he was shot in the stomach as he greeted supporters in the town of Handlova, 140 kilometres (87 miles) northeast of the capital.

Fico appeared in public for the first time since the attempted assassination on Friday, when he delivered a speech marking a national holiday.

He has long been a divisive figure in Slovakia and beyond, coming to power for the fourth time last year when his left-wing Smer, or Direction, party won elections. parliamentary elections campaigning on a pro-Russian and anti-American message.

His critics fear that Slovakia could abandon its pro-Western course and follow Hungary’s path. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán

Thousands of people held demonstrations in the capital and across Slovakia to protest against Fico’s policies.

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