Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured) described the shooting as a 'heinous crime ' and said he hoped the 'courageous' Fico would recover quickly

World leaders have today condemned the shooting of Slovakian PM Robert Fico, who was shot point blank in the stomach while greeting a crowd in the town of Handlova.

There was an immediate outpouring of support and well-wishes from Heads of State including Austria, Poland, Italy and Romania, who were quick to condemn the attack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the shooting as a ‘heinous crime’ and said he hoped the ‘courageous’ Fico 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,’ Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin.

President Joe Biden condemned the attempted assassination as a ‘horrific act of violence’ and said the U.S. Embassy was ready to assist the government there, according to a statement released by the White House.

‘I am alarmed to hear reports of an attack on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico,’ Biden said. ‘We condemn this horrific act of violence. Our embassy is in close touch with the government of Slovakia and ready to assist.’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: ‘Shocked to hear this awful news. All our thoughts are with Prime Minister Fico and his family.’ 

Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured) described the shooting as a 'heinous crime ' and said he hoped the 'courageous' Fico would recover quickly

Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured) described the shooting as a ‘heinous crime ‘ and said he hoped the ‘courageous’ Fico would recover quickly

US President Joe Biden said the U.S. Embassy was ready to assist the government there, according to a statement released by the White House

US President Joe Biden said the U.S. Embassy was ready to assist the government there, according to a statement released by the White House

Personnel carrying Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico (C) towards a vehicle after he was shot in Handlova on May 15

Personnel carrying Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico (C) towards a vehicle after he was shot in Handlova on May 15

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: 'Shocked to hear this awful news. All our thoughts are with Prime Minister Fico and his family.'

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: ‘Shocked to hear this awful news. All our thoughts are with Prime Minister Fico and his family.’

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks during a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. He is fighting for his life in hospital following today's shooting

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks during a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. He is fighting for his life in hospital following today’s shooting 

 President Fico was reportedly shot by 71-year-old, Juraj Cintula from Levice, who attempted to flee before he was tackled to the ground by security.

According to social media, President Fico’s injuries are ‘life-threatening’ and he was flown to hospital for emergency treatment.

The attempted assassination followed a government meeting in the town of Handlova, north-east of Bratislava.  

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the ‘shocking attack carried out today against the prime minister of Slovakia,’ his office said.

Guterres’s ‘thoughts are with the prime minister and his loved ones at this difficult moment,’ spokesman Farhan Haq added.

Robert Fico (pictured centre) being carried away by security officials into a car after he was shot in Handlova, north-east of Bratislava, following a Slovak government meeting

Robert Fico (pictured centre) being carried away by security officials into a car after he was shot in Handlova, north-east of Bratislava, following a Slovak government meeting

The PM was shot in Handlova, north-east of Bratislava

The PM was shot in Handlova, north-east of Bratislava

Fico was shot following a government meeting on Wednesday outside the House of Culture in Handlova and was pictured being moved into a car by security officials

The Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico has been ‘shot and wounded’

The alleged assassin 71-year-old Juraj Cintula, from Levice

The alleged assassin 71-year-old Juraj Cintula, from Levice

The gunman is allegedly 71-year-old Juraj C

The gunman is allegedly 71-year-old Juraj C

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen said: ‘Such acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine democracy, our most precious common good. My thoughts are with PM Fico, his family.’

Czech President Petr Pavel said: ‘The attack on Robert Fico is clearly reprehensible, whatever its motivation was. 

‘It should be a warning to us about where deepening spite and aggressiveness in society can lead. I wish for Robert Fico to emerge from this incident without lasting effects.’

The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz added: ‘News of the cowardly assassination attempt on Slovakian Prime Minister Fico shocks me deeply. Violence must have no place in European politics.’

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky added: ‘Every effort should be made to ensure that violence does not become the norm in any country, form, or sphere.’

Shocking video footage shows the moment Fico was gunned down across a barrier, as he greeted members of the public. 

Rescue workers take Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia. He is pictured covered in a white sheet

Rescue workers take Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia. He is pictured covered in a white sheet

The attacker was pushed to the ground and handcuffed

The attacker was pushed to the ground and handcuffed

The PM can be seen shaking hands and waving to cheering citizens, before chaos was unleashed. 

An individual from within the crowd can be seen lunging forward, with a gun in hand as he begins shooting in the direction of the PM who is out of the camera frame.

The crowds descend in to chaos and panic as several of the security team pounce on the shooter and scramble to get around the gate to reach injured Fico. 

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban said: ‘I was deeply shocked by the heinous attack against my friend, Prime Minister Robert Fico. We pray for his health and quick recovery! God bless him and his country!’

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk added: ‘Shocking news from Slovakia. Robert, my thoughts are with you in this very difficult moment.’

Ireland’s PM Simon Harris said: ‘I am deeply shocked by today’s attack on Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico. 

‘The attack on Prime Minister Fico is an attack on democracy, a fundamental value of the European Union and one we all share.’

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