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Latvian soldiers storm into Riga firing blanks at each other in exercise simulating urban combat

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Riga’s surprising urban military exercises have both angered and amused residents as soldiers fired blank bullets and staged training drills in the streets of the Latvian capital.

The town was turned into a simulated war zone over the weekend, with heavily armed soldiers firing weapons at terrified civilians who appeared to have received no warning about the drills.

Footage of the exercise showed no markings or boundaries as civilians made their way through groups of soldiers firing at each other, organizing combat drills and building breakthroughs as part of war games run by NATO countries.

While some citizens appeared to be amused and entertained by the exercises, the Latvian government faced criticism after residents said their children were terrified.

It comes when Russia organizes huge war games and military rain drills with Belarus, Armenia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia in nine different locations.

While many citizens appeared to be amused and entertained by the exercises, the Latvian government faced criticism after residents said their children were terrified

Following the outcry, the military offered a bland apology, stating that it only uses empty cartridges for such events and insisting that no damage was done.

Following the outcry, the military offered a bland apology, stating that it only uses empty cartridges for such events and insisting that no damage was done.

Videos surfacing on social media showed a soldier firing his weapon as a woman passed with her baby, frightening the woman and making the baby cry in fear and shock

Videos surfacing on social media showed a soldier firing his weapon as a woman passed with her baby, frightening the woman and making the baby cry in fear and shock

Videos posted on social media showed a soldier firing his weapon as a woman passed by with her baby, frightening the woman and making the baby cry in fear and shock.

Other scenes showed several soldiers in the middle of the street, crouching behind cars and firing their weapons at a building.

Although the exercise was not conducted in full force, the sight of military units firing weapons in the city streets upset many residents and came under harsh criticism for the lack of official warnings or restrictions on the exercises.

After the outcry, the military offered a bland apology, stating that it only uses empty cartridges for such events and insisting that no damage was done.

‘During such exercises we only use blank cartridges, which make noise but do not endanger the health and life of others.

“Blank cartridges were also used in this case, and this situation was a bitter misunderstanding, for which we apologize.”

Meanwhile, the Latvian Defense Ministry appealed to the public for “peace and understanding for the exercises,” which it said were necessary and did not pose a threat to the city’s residents, in a statement quoted by the TVnet website.

The Defense Ministry added that two servicemen had been hospitalized as a result of injuries sustained during training exercises, which were part of NATO’s 2021 Namejs war games from August 30 to October 3.

About 9,300 soldiers from various NATO countries are involved in the exercises.

About 9,300 soldiers from different NATO countries are involved in the exercises

About 9,300 soldiers from different NATO countries are involved in the exercises

The Latvian Ministry of Defense appealed to the public to

The Latvian Ministry of Defense appealed to the public to “peace and understand the exercises” it said were necessary and did not pose a threat to the city’s residents, in a statement quoted by the TVnet website

Latvia's urban defense exercises came just a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw massive military exercises in Kaliningrad on Monday.

Latvia’s urban defense exercises came just a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw massive military exercises in Kaliningrad on Monday.

Latvia’s urban defense exercises came just a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw massive military exercises in Kaliningrad on Monday, including a beach invasion by the world’s largest hovercraft.

Some 2,000 soldiers and more than 200 pieces of military equipment were seen in the exercise as troops stormed ashore in a war game on Russia’s border with the European Union.

Last week, Putin attended more large-scale military exercises being held along with Belarus, Armenia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia at nine different locations in Russia, including in the Baltic Sea, and five in Belarus in what has warned the Ukrainian government. In Kaliningrad, footage showed the massive landing exercise with the Baltic fleets and others on the Zubr-class LCAC, the world’s largest hovercraft.

The hovercraft designed by the Soviet Union is intended to transport attack units from ships to the coast and can also transport and plant naval mines.

Russia, Belarus and others organize massive military exercises, including a beach invasion by the world's largest hovercraft (pictured)

Russia, Belarus and others organize massive military exercises, including a beach invasion by the world’s largest hovercraft (pictured)

Another video showed Russian combat helicopters in action during the large-scale Zapad-2021 exercises that developed 200,000 troops intended to highlight Russia's military readiness for the West - and neighboring Ukraine.

Another video showed Russian combat helicopters in action during the large-scale Zapad-2021 exercises that developed 200,000 troops intended to highlight Russia’s military readiness for the West – and neighboring Ukraine.

Tanks fire during the Zapad-2021 joint military exercises at the Mulino army base in the Nizhny Novogorod region, some 350 kilometers east of Moscow

Tanks fire during the Zapad-2021 joint military exercises at the Mulino army base in the Nizhny Novogorod region, some 350 kilometers east of Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) oversaw massive military exercises in the Mulino Mountains in the Nizhny Novgorod region today

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) oversaw massive military exercises in the Mulino Mountains in the Nizhny Novgorod region today

The exercises will end on Sept. 16, but Russia has announced that not all of its troops will return to their military bases before mid-October, the defense ministry said, without providing an explanation for the delayed return.

The massive exercises and the announcement of closer ties between Russia and the Belarus dictatorship have scared Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warned: ‘The scenarios applied there pose serious risks’ [to Ukraine].

“We understand that if Russia somehow absorbs Belarus, we will have an additional 1,000 kilometers of danger to our sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

His predecessor Pavlo Klimkin warned that Russia was about to surround Ukraine with troops, and called for a plea for help from NATO.

Exercises are underway across part of Russia, from the Baltic Sea to the borders of Ukraine, while separate exercises are underway in the Arctic.

During exercises in the Arctic, the Russian nuclear-powered submarine Oryol was shown firing a Granit anti-ship cruise missile into the Barents Sea, where waters were closed to non-naval vessels during the high-latitude war games.

Nine series in Russia, including in the Baltic Sea, and five in Belarus organize the joint military exercises that are troubling Ukraine

Nine series in Russia, including in the Baltic Sea, and five in Belarus organize the joint military exercises that are troubling Ukraine

Tanks and helicopters are seen on Monday during exercises at the Mulino army base in the Nizhny Novogorod region.

Tanks and helicopters are seen on Monday during exercises at the Mulino army base in the Nizhny Novogorod region.

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