Russian copter fires on spectators at drills

Cheryl Sanders
September 19, 2017

A video clip published on Tuesday by the independent news site showed a helicopter firing a salvo of rockets at a military truck covered in camouflage netting in open countryside, with three vehicles with no military markings visible, parked a few meters away.

Russian President Vladimir Putin accompanied by the top military brass attended the drills at the range on Monday.

Earlier in the day, media reports and videos emerged claiming that a Ka-52 helicopter accidentally fired rockets at journalists.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov evaded questions and a statement by the Western Military District said there were "no incidents related to army aviation" on September 18. The rocket hit a truck on the ground.

The unnamed source told that there appeared to have been a technical glitch on board "and the missiles blasted off on their own".

"The parts of the missiles hit a large area, at least two cars were burned, two people wounded, they are in the hospital now". "The victims were most likely journalists".

Western and Belarusian observers have put the number of Russian troops involved in the war games at between 70,000 and 120,000.

Russia is now staging the "Zapad 2017" war games in the area, major exercises on NATO's eastern flank that were inspected on Monday by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The press service did not say when the incident occurred and it was not clear whether it was denying that it happened during Zapad 2017, which started on September 14.

According to, the incident took place on the Lujchi polygon in western Russian Federation. The exercises involve about 12,700 servicemen, including up to 5,500 from Russian Federation and about 7,200 from Belarus.

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