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Unannounced Russian military exercise panics Armenians

July 19, 2018

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — The Russian military has apologized for failing to warn Armenian villagers they were holding war games in their midst.

During the exercises, Russian forces opened fire Tuesday in a village called Panic, and panic indeed ensued. Local media showed Russian military vehicles descending on the town in the allied nation.

Regional governor Karen Sarukhanian summoned a Russian officer the next day for discussions. Russian Col. Alexei Polyukhovich is quoted on the regional administration’s Facebook page as acknowledging an error and promising to investigate and never let it happen again.

The Russian base in the region came under criticism in the past after a local boy was killed after discovering unexploded ordnance.

Russia is Armenia’s biggest ally and maintains a military presence in the small, landlocked former Soviet republic.

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