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Two injured in Russian, Belarusian war games: report

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 19.09.2017 14:00
Two people were seriously injured after a combat helicopter accidentally launched missiles toward a group of onlookers during Russian and Belarusian war games, according to a report.
Zapad 2017 military exercises in Russia's St. Petersburg region. Photo: EPA/KONSTANTIN ALYSHZapad 2017 military exercises in Russia's St. Petersburg region. Photo: EPA/KONSTANTIN ALYSH

The accident occurred because of the malfunction of military equipment during the Zapad (West) 2017 military exercises by the Russian and Belarusian armies, according to a report by the 66.ru website.

The two injured individuals are receiving treatment in a hospital, 66.ru reported.

Most likely, the incident occurred shortly before Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the training ground, the website said.

According to 66.ru, the accident occurred at the Luzhsky exercise site near St. Petersburg when there was an involuntary launch of air-to-surface missiles from a Ka-52 helicopter during drills.

“... The missiles went off by themselves,” the 66.ru website reported, quoting an unnamed “informed source.”

“... At least two cars were burned, two people sustained serious injuries; they were taken to hospital. This was in training before some kind of show. The people who suffered are most likely journalists," the source said, according to the 66.ru report.

The exact date of the incident is unknown. "It happened yesterday or the day before yesterday," 66.ru quoted the source as saying.

According to the press services of Russia’s Western Military District, on 17 September “the crews of Mi-28N and Ka-52 attack helicopters from the Western Military District air force carried out tasks including aerial reconnaissance and missile strikes on ground targets" as part of the Zapad 2017 strategic joint exercises at the Luzhsky training ground, the website reported.

The Zapad 2017 joint exercises of the Russian and Belarusian armed forces are being held from 14-20 September. On 18 September, the Luzhsky range was visited by President Putin, who is the Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces, and by Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu, according to 66.ru.

The Russian-Belarusian exercises have caused concern among the leaders of neighbouring countries, the website noted.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has said that the manoeuvres simulated a real conflict with NATO countries and criticised the "hidden scale and scenarios of the exercises," according to 66.ru.

Grybauskaite has complained to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that this testifies to "the aggressive nature of the exercises," 66.ru said. (gs/pk)

Source: 66.ru

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