Published: Wed, September 20, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Russian helicopter 'accidentally fires rocket near onlookers'

Russian helicopter 'accidentally fires rocket near onlookers'

MOSCOW (AP) - A Russian military helicopter gunship accidentally fired on spectators during war games in western Russia, injuring several people, news reports said Tuesday.

The department said that during the incident shown in the video "the targeting system of one of the helicopters erroneously locked on a wrong target".

A source told the website: "They flew to the target, there were 500 metres left, on the mission on the combat path, the weapons chains were switched on, they turned on, but there something was shortened, and the missiles descended".

A helicopter participating in the ongoing Zapad 2017 war games in Russian Federation is reported to have fired a missile toward civilians who might be a part of a camera crew of journalists.

RBC news agency reports that the injured people "weren't civilians", according to comments quoted by The Guardian.

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Tracer bullets lit up the murky skyline, battle tanks churned across muddy terrain, shells exploded, helicopters fired missiles, planes roared overhead and hundreds of paratroopers and armored vehicles were dropped from the skies.

Russian military drills with Belarus are in full swing and NATO's top general says allies' fears that the war games would be "larger than what they told us", have proved correct. Western allies resoundingly rejected the figures, observing higher military cargo traffic for the preparations and comparing it to previous iterations of such drills in which Russian Federation drafted closer to 100,000 troops.

Yet, a report from the press service of the Western Military District said that on September 17, the crews of the Mi-28N and Ka-52 attack helicopters "worked on the tasks of aerial reconnaissance, conducting a missile attack on ground targets and covering a ground grouping of troops from the air".

A spokesman said: "As a result of a strike by an unguided rocket, a cargo vehicle with no people on board was damaged". On September 18, Russian leader Vladimir Putin visited it to inspect the drills.

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