Russia’s military exercises were displayed in terrifying detail in a series of shock photos released today.
Thousands of Russian troops have marched into Europe to carry out the controversial drills in Belarus – with neighbouring countries expressing concerns of alternate motives.
Fears of preparations for an invasion have been dismissed by the Kremlin but observers are concerned Russia is still lying about the true number of troops taking part in the drills.
According to Russian and Belarussian officials, under 13,000 soldiers will take place – a threshold which means international observers do not need to be present.
However, experts are concerned a far higher number which actually take part, with some warning as many as 100,000 soldiers could descend on the country.
Photos released today showed the full might of the Russian army, with tanks shown thundering across mock battlefields.
Rockets were also fired at mock targets, exploding into fire and smoke as officials watched on.
In the skies above the battle ground, Russian and Belarusian jets and attack helicopters flew in formation.
But despite the show of force, the drills have not taken place without controversy – and no small amount of embarrassment for Vladimir Putin.
A terrifying video emerged today showing a military helicopter accidentally opening fire on spectators at one of the drills.
The video clip, published by independent news site Fontanka.ru, showed a helicopter firing a salvo of rockets at a military truck covered in camouflage netting in open countryside, with three vehicles with no military markings visible, parked a few metres away.
A man in civilian clothes who had been standing close to the truck was engulfed in a cloud of dust. The person filming the clip, who was slightly further away, could be seen sprawled on the ground.
Russia’s defence ministry said no-one was injured in the incident.
A spokesman said: “As a result of a strike by an unguided rocket, a cargo vehicle with no people on board was damaged.”