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A Russian attack helicopter mistakenly fired at least one rocket into a crowd of spectators during a large-scale military exercise in western Belarus simulating a counterattack against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces.

According to reports in social media, the incident occurred on September 18. The explosion burned down two cars and left two people in the hospital.

The top USA 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".

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According to a report by Moscow Times, two people were hospitalised with serious injuries after the incident.

The press service did not say when the incident occurred and it was not clear whether it was denying that it happened during Zapad 2017, which started on September 14. The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear.

A separate report, however, suggested there were three people injured, who were not civilians. As the helicopters near, rockets suddenly fly from one of them towards the man, exploding and throwing debris over the camera. It is being said that President Vladimir Putin visited the range on Monday this week. The 45-minute simulated battle went off without incident.

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The helicopter drill was part of Zapad, a large-scale joint military exercise with Belarus taking place along the border with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries west of Russian Federation. The muscle-flexing, which began Thursday, highlights the lethality of a fighting force that has taken a crash course of reforms and upgrades over the last decade.

"Today, a successful launch of the modernized missile system of the Ground Forces, Iskander-M, was carried out", Tass news agency quoted the ministry as saying. 2017 military manoeuvres have caused concern among some North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members neighboring Russian Federation, who have criticised a lack of transparency about the exercises and questioned Moscow's intentions. Western officials believe troop numbers could escalate to as many as 100,000, causing anxiety in nearby Baltic states and other countries.

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