This is the moment a wide-eyed young mother holds her screaming toddler close as rifle-toting Latvian soldiers open fire in the capital’s streets on a Sunday afternoon.
The Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia has since apologised to residents of the country’s capital Riga after carrying out military exercises in the streets that frightened many and caused a “bitter misunderstanding” on 12th September.
In the footage, soldiers in full gear are seen occupying parks and lying on city steps with machine guns as shots fill the air.
In one scene, a wide-eyed young mum holds her screaming child close after a soldier in camouflage fires his rifle from a shop doorway.
The incident caused a backlash among netizens and Riga residents, and the Ministry of Defence has since apologised for scaring people.
The MoD said the city shoot-up was actually part of the Namejs 2021 simulated warfare exercises taking part in various Latvian cities and regions until October.
Several NATO nations, including the UK, US, France, and Germany, are also taking part in Namejs 2021.
The MoD pointed out that no live ammunition was used during the city exercise, adding that war games are being held outside military facilities to get as close “to the real situation” as possible.
The Ministry said in a statement: “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 apologise.
“The Defence Ministry calls on the public to show understanding for the exercises.”
Namejs 2021 started on 31st August and will continue until 3rd October.