Two people were hospitalized with serious injuries after a helicopter accidentally fired on bystanders at the Zapad 2017 military exercises, the online news portal 66.ru cited a source as saying on Tuesday.
The week-long drills in Western Russia and neighboring Belarus kicked off last week, with around 13,000 troops, hundreds of tanks, aircraft, warships and other military hardware participating.
The incident reportedly took place at the Luzhsky range near St. Petersburg either on Monday or Sunday. President Vladimir Putin visited the range on Monday.
The unnamed source told 66.ru that there appeared to have been a technical glitch on board “and the missiles blasted off on their own.”
“At least two cars burned down, two people were seriously injured, they are now hospitalized,” the source said. “The victims were most likely journalists.”
The Russian Defense Ministry said two attack helicopters simulated aerial reconnaissance and close air support missions on Monday as part of Zapad 2017.
Two people were hospitalized after Russian helicopters may have fired on bystanders at the #Zapad17 military drills https://t.co/Dod5PjeYOq pic.twitter.com/1luPQ6je7N— The Moscow Times (@MoscowTimes) September 19, 2017