Russia 'fires decoy rocket' into Kazakhstan
The Russian army on Thursday sparked puzzlement in Kazakhstan by accidentally firing a decoy rocket used in military training exercises inside the border with its neighbour, officials said.
Kazakh media reports said a "flying object resembling a rocket" had landed overnight around 15 kilometres (10 miles) inside its western border with Russia, with its brand marks appearing to confirm it was Russian in origin.
The Russian military in the Astrakhan region of southern Russia later said that the object was a dummy target imitating a rocket which was to have been shot down in air defence exercises but diverted from its course.
"The decoy, which was imitating a low-altitude rocket, did not fulfill its flight course, diverted from its route and landed by parachute in the region of the border with Kazakhstan," Major General Vladimir Gradusov told the Interfax news agency.
The Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency said the first reports the object had landed in Kazakhstan came at 00:15 am (1815 GMT Wednesday) on Thursday morning. There were no casualties.
The emergencies department in the Kazakh Atyrau region said that the object was up to five metres (16 feet) long, and had three wings "on each of which a five-pointed star had been painted".
It said that a special commission was being set up to look into the incident.
"At the moment air defence exercises are taking place in the (Russian) Astrakhan region. It's not excluded that the object came from there," Interfax-Kazakhstan quoted a source as saying.
© 2011 AFP