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Not So Friendly Fire

"Target practice? Who needs it?"
"Target practice? Who needs it?"
The Russian military is on the march again.

You may recall that in May a Russian warship accidentally fired missiles into a Leningrad Oblast village. Apparently the seamen could use more training, since 10 missiles were fired at the unsuspecting target but no one was injured and almost nothing was damaged.

In June, while training for a naval demonstration to mark Navy Day in Vladivostok, another ship tossed a shell into the heart of the city. No one was injured, but the foundation of a residential building was damaged and windows were broken.

Not to be outdone, Russia's ground forces yesterday launched an offensive into a Moscow Oblast dacha community. It's unclear who is to blame in this case, since the village is located between two army divisions and on the edge of a Moscow Military District training ground.

Although locals are used to the sound of artillery and tank fire, yesterday was the first time a shell strayed into their midst. In all, four shells hit the unlucky village, damaging a well and churning up a road. No one was injured, and the military has promised to repair the damage.

"Our dog was so scared she ran into the house and hid in the corner under the couch," one resident was quoted as saying. "You really did have the feeling a war had begun."

-- Robert Coalson

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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