Iskander-M missile hits target in Kazakhstan at Zapad-2017 drills

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Meanwhile, media outlets reported Tuesday that a Russian military helicopter accidentally fired rockets near a crowd of spectators during the Zapad exercise.

The Russian Embassy in London passed on a link to a report by the RIA Novosti agency that said the ministry denied any such accident had taken place during the Zapad exercises on Monday.

Life.ru also published footage, which it says shows the same incident from the ground and which differs from the original video published online.

A Ka-52 helicopter inadvertently fired an air-to-surface missile during Zapad-2017 maneuvers at "Luzhsky" training ground in the Leningrad Region.

The Zapad joint strategic exercise, with troops from Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, started on September 14. "They activated the weapon chain, but something malfunctioned, and rockets went down [earlier]", the source told 66.ru and added that two people - "most likely journalists" - were hospitalised with serious injuries.

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It instead claimed the incident happened when one of the helicopter's targeting systems "erroneously locked on a wrong target".

The ministry, however, insisted it happened at "a different time" than the day Putin had been present and refused to confirm the location.

As commander-in-chief of Russia's armed forces, Mr Putin observed the simulated battles along with a number of top generals at the start of this week.

Russian Federation put on a display of heavy firepower for president Vladimir Putin and foreign media gathered Monday to watch military exercises that are believed to be some of the largest held since the end of the Cold War. "They weren't civilians", the source said. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has accused Russian Federation of trying to hide the true extent of the exercise.

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".

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