Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has reportedly shot himself in the leg while practising at a gun range. A source told Interfax news agency that Rogozin had been taken to a Moscow hospital following the accident, after he failed to attend a cabinet meeting.

However, Rogozin's assistant Nikita Anisimov soon rushed to deny the claim, telling Gazeta.Ru that Rogozin had in fact injured himself "during training in handball last week".

Known for his belligerent public persona, Rogozin has previously boasted of his shooting prowess on social media, and only weeks ago declared on Twitter 'no need for an optometrist' with pictures of himself firing a pistol at a shooting range. A follow-up video saw him blasting targets with a hand gun.

Rogozin, who is responsible for Russia's defence industry, recently described hosting delegates from the US National Rifle Association in Moscow ahead of the World Rifle Championship in Russia in 2017.

Rogozin was one of the first individuals placed on a sanctions list by the US, in response to his role in the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.