Two Russian paratroopers die in training accident near Belarus-Poland border

Strong winds and parachute failure have resulted in the tragic death of two paratroopers during joint Russian-Belarusian military drills, close to the tense Polish border on Friday, the Ministry of Defence has announced.

One soldier reportedly tried to save the other until the last moment with the help of his reserve parachute, the Ministry added, but the system did not have time to start working due to the low altitude. 

The incident unfolded during a simulated airborne operation near the Belarusian city of Grodno. The operation was part of joint snap drills being held not far from the EU frontier, which is currently the seen of a stand-off over migrants. 

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Polish servicemen stand guard behind a barbed wire as clothes are dried at a migrant camp on the Belarusian-Polish border in Grodno region, Belarus. © Sputnik / Viktor Tolochko
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Both men’s chutes collapsed at a low altitude due to a sudden wind blast, the ministry told TASS news agency in a statement. The two soldiers are described as having been contract servicemen and experienced paratroopers, who were certified as parachute jump instructors.

Boith men were hospitalized in a local medical facility, but the paratroopers died "from their injuries."

Earlier on Friday, the ministry said some 250 Russian airborne troops had taken part in snap drills in Belarus. The exercise had involved a mission in unfamiliar terrain and joint tactical maneuvers with the Belarusian forces. The paratroopers are now returning to Russia from the Grodno region.

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