June 14. 2024. 1:45

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After Fico shooting, Poland’s Tusk receives death threats

As the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico continues to fight for his life after Wednesday’s assassination attempt, his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk made public one of the death threats he received on social media.

Fico remains in a stable but critical condition in hospital after he was shot in a town northeast of Bratislava. One man was charged on Thursday with the attack, and while he has not been formally identified, media reports suggest he is a 71-year-old writer described by Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok as a “lone wolf”.

The minister also confirmed that while the attack was politically motivated, he did not belong to any political groups, adding, “I can confirm that this person is not a member of any right-wing or left-wing radical groups.”

A day after the attack, Prime Minister Donald Tusk shared a screenshot of one of the anonymous social media posts on X, which praised the perpetrator and called for the assassination of Tusk.

“Slovaks gave us an example of what to do with Donald Tusk if he fails on the CPK,” the post said, referring in Polish to the Central Communications Port, a mega-project of the former Law and Justice (PiS, ECR) government to build a new airport from scratch some 40 kilometres southwest of Warsaw that Tusk’s new government is sceptical about.

“There was a lot of it yesterday,” said Tusk, pointing to another saying, “Fico was shot today. Tusk has fear in his eyes, does he expect something?”

“That’s how Putin’s friends end. Tusk will keep a lookout now,” said another.

In Poland, the two main parties, Tusk’s Civic Platform (PO, EPP) and Law and Justice (PiS, ECR), accuse each other of having links with Putin and implementing Russia’s agenda.

Last year, a 43-year-old man was sentenced to 10 months in prison for threatening to kill Tusk.

But according to PiS MEP Beata Kempa, who admitted to receiving threats in the past, the political battle in Poland has become too fierce.

There can always be someone “who will take advantage of this situation” and decide to kill a politician because he or she feels that their preferred party is giving its approval, she told private radio broadcaster ZET.

However, she mainly blamed Tusk for using “strong wording against the opposition,” which “encourages his followers to attack harder”.

In her view, the right-wing is “more the right is more willing to forgive” its political opponent, whereas “the other wing is relentless”.

Other European leaders have also received death threats following the attack on Fico.

These include Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, President of the Serb Republic in Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who are pro-Russian, and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Tusk, who are not.

Even though Tusk and Fico do not see eye to eye on many issues, including the war in Ukraine, the Polish prime minister showed solidarity with his Slovakian colleague after the shooting.

“Robert, my thoughts are with you in this very difficult moment,” he wrote minutes after the first reports about the attack on X on Wednesday.

(Aleksandra Krzysztoszek | Euractiv.pl)

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