Russian helicopter accidentally fired on spectators during war games, state TV says

Russian Helicopters May Have Fired on Bystanders at Zapad Military Drills

Russian Helicopters May Have Fired on Bystanders at Zapad Military Drills

The Russian press reports that President Vladimir Putin attended the Zapad drills on Monday.

A Russian attack helicopter mistakenly fired at least one rocket into a crowd of spectators during a large-scale military exercise in western Belarus simulating a counterattack against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces.

The Zapad joint strategic exercise, with troops from Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, started on September 14.

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The Russian military acknowledged that a helicopter accidentally fired a rocket during drills, but did not say when and where it happened. Two people were reportedly injured and hospitalized, 66.ru website said with reference to an "informed source".

The Zapad 2017 joint exercises of the Russian and Belarusian armed forces are being held from 14-20 September. It said the accident happened Sunday or Monday, and that the video was provided by an unidentified witness. A video of eyewitnesses was published, where during the training there was an inefficient launch of air-to-surface missiles from KA-52 Alligator helicopter, which hit the equipment and people.

Moscow says nearly 13,000 Russian and Belarussian service personnel are taking part, as well as around 70 planes and helicopters.

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"The splinters have a large explosion, at least two cars were burnt, two people were seriously injured, now they are in the hospital. All rumors in the social networks about missiles fired on a crowd of journalists and heavy casualties are either a deliberate provocation or just somebody's foolish act", TASS cited the statement as saying.

The military said the incident was caused by the failure of the helicopter's targeting system.

Independent news site Fontanka.ru said one of the people was left with concussion but did not give details on the source of the video.

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