SLOVAK prime minister Robert Fico has suffered life-threatening injuries after being shot, according to reports.

The incident took place in the town of Handlova, some 150 kilometres north east of the capital Bratislava, according to the news television station TA3.

A suspect has been detained, it said.

President Zuzana Caputova condemned “a brutal and ruthless” attack on the premier.

“I’m shocked,” Caputova said. “I wish Robert Fico a lot of strength in this critical moment and a quick recovery from this attack.”

Deputy speaker of parliament Lubos Blaha confirmed the incident during a session of parliament and adjourned it until further notice, the Slovak TASR news agency said.

The incident took place in front of the local House of Culture, where Fico came to meet with supporters. Police sealed off the scene.

A reporter for the daily newspaper Dennik N daily heard shooting and then saw rescuers carrying the premier to a car.

A message posted to Fico's Facebook page said he was shot a number of times and was "currently in a life-threatening condition".

It added that he was being transported to Banksa Bystrica as he needed urgent surgery. The next few hours would be critical, the message said.

The third-time premier, and his leftist Smer (meaning Direction) party came to power following October's general election.

He staged a political comeback after campaigning on a pro-Russian and anti-American message.

Critics worried Slovakia under Fico would abandon the country’s pro-Western course and follow the direction of Hungary under populist prime minister Viktor Orban.

Thousands have repeatedly rallied in the capital and across Slovakia to protest over Fico’s policies, according to the Associated Press news agency.