Footage of a war exercise in the busy streets of Latvia's capital, Riga, shows heavily armed soldiers firing assault rifles among frightened residents.
According to RT News, videos of a field training exercise in Riga were first published online on Saturday morning, have since gone viral. Dozens of heavily armed soldiers conducted what appears to be urban warfare training, firing weapons with blank rounds.
In one scene, a soldier fired his assault rifle as a young woman walked by, causing her baby to cry.
The incident prompted a backlash among residents who complained the capital was transformed into a warzone without notice. This forced the military to issue an apology:
"During such drills, we only use blank cartridges, which make noise but do not pose any danger to the health and life of others. In this case, blank cartridges were also used, and this situation was a bitter misunderstanding, for which we apologize. The Defense Ministry calls on the public to show understanding for the exercises," the ministry said in a statement cited by the TVnet website.
The exercise in Riga was part of the Namejs 2021 simulated warfare drills that are being held across the region through October. Latvia is a NATO member that is located between Lithuania and Estonia and also borders Russia.
Last week, Soviet satellite ally Belarus kicked off war games, which were some of the largest in decades.