Russian 'Alligator' helicopter accidentally shot at bystanders during war games

Russian 'Alligator' helicopter accidentally shot at bystanders during war games

Russian 'Alligator' helicopter accidentally shot at bystanders during war games

The over-arching Zapad war games, which began on September 14 and run to September 20, are taking place in western Russia, Russia's exclave of Kaliningrad, and Belarus, a Russian ally which borders Ukraine as well as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.

The Zapad 2017 joint exercises of the Russian and Belarusian armed forces are being held from 14-20 September.

The major exercises have elicited criticism from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the USA, who say Russian Federation has concealed the true number of troops taking part, and troubled some observers in Eastern Europe, where the Kremlin's invasion of Crimea in 2014 remains fresh.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite warned the exercises could lead to war with NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Western officials believe troop numbers could escalate to as many as 100,000, causing anxiety in nearby Baltic states and other countries.

Photos released today showed the full might of the Russian army, with tanks shown thundering across mock battlefields. The pilots destroyed ground targets imitating infrastructure, fortifications and convoys of the simulated enemy, it said.

Thousands of Russian troops have marched into Europe to carry out the controversial drills in Belarus - with neighbouring countries expressing concerns of alternate motives.

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Two calls from The Independent to Russia's defence ministry went unanswered.

The top US general in Europe said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was being vigilant about the war games but that he had not "seen anything that indicates it being anything other than an exercise".

"It's following in line with what we've seen with these annual exercises in the past". "That's worrisome if you're a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation country on the border". He said he told them they should not be concerned.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday that Putin's absence was not a United Nations snub.

Russia's government has denied it occurred during President Vladimir Putin's visit to the war games on Monday.

Russian Federation and Belarus have dismissed the claims, insisting the exercises are entirely defensive.

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