A Russian helicopter apparently opened fire on civilians with air-to-surface missiles, it is reported. Two people are said to have been seriously injured after the Ka-52 aircraft allegedly launched a missile at an enclosure for spectators near St Petersburg.
Footage appears to show the helicopter accidentally opening fire on the civilians – thought to be journalists – during the games, which have alarmed governments in Europe.
Reports in Russia suggest the two victims are likely to be reporters covering the controversial Zapad military training exercises, which have been overseen by Putin.
The incident is believed to have happened at the Luzhsky military field, where a missile was reportedly seen striking close to the spot where a cameraman was filming.
A source told Russian news website 66.ru : “Something went wrong, the missiles were immediately launched.
“The parts of the missiles hit a large area, at least two cars were burned, two people wounded, they are in the hospital now. Most likely, the victims were journalists.”
The Ka-52 Alligator helicopter is the newest intelligence and attack helicopter able to attack armoured vehicles and people.
The unnamed source said the rockets were fired early as a result of a short circuit, although this remains unconfirmed.
Journalists from Russia, Belarus and many other countries – including the West – have been accredited for the Zapad war games – a huge show of military force which has worried NATO members.