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Russian military rains down terrifying barrage of incendiary shells on Ukrainian village

A terrifying cascade of Russian incendiary shells rained down on a Ukrainian village in apocalyptic footage shared by its defense ministry.

The recently liberated village of Ozerne in Donetsk was targeted by Kremlin forces days after it was recaptured amid Kiev’s stunning counter-offensive, Ukraine claims.

Their footage shows countless shells raining down on the village, hitting buildings and lighting up the streets.

A terrifying cascade of Russian incendiary shells rained down on a Ukrainian village in apocalyptic footage shared by its defense ministry

A terrifying cascade of Russian incendiary shells rained down on a Ukrainian village in apocalyptic footage shared by its defense ministry

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) shared the video yesterday, saying: ‘Russian 9М22S incendiary shells fall on the recently liberated village of Ozerne in the Donetsk region.’

Ozerne is a village in Bakhmut Raion of Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine.

The 9M22S grenade, typically used by vehicles such as the BM-21 ‘Grad’ multi-launch rocket systems, is designed to be used against flammable targets and personnel.

Meanwhile, two Russian-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine announced plans to hold referendums on joining Russia later this week.

The move, which seriously escalates Moscow’s opposition to the West, comes after Russia has suffered on the battlefield in northeastern Ukraine.

The recently liberated village of Ozerne in Donetsk was hit by Kremlin forces just days after it was recaptured

The recently liberated village of Ozerne in Donetsk was hit by Kremlin forces just days after it was recaptured

The recently liberated village of Ozerne in Donetsk was hit by Kremlin forces just days after it was recaptured

The 9M22S grenade, typically used by vehicles such as the BM-21 'Grad' multi-launch rocket systems, is designed to be used against flammable targets and personnel

The 9M22S grenade, typically used by vehicles such as the BM-21 'Grad' multi-launch rocket systems, is designed to be used against flammable targets and personnel

The 9M22S grenade, typically used by vehicles such as the BM-21 ‘Grad’ multi-launch rocket systems, is designed to be used against flammable targets and personnel

A man walks through the ruins of a building destroyed by recent shelling during the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the city of Kadiivka

A man walks through the ruins of a building destroyed by recent shelling during the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the city of Kadiivka

A man walks through the ruins of a building destroyed by recent shelling during the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the city of Kadiivka

The Russian-backed self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) and neighboring Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said the planned referendums would be held from 23-27. September.

In a post on social media addressed to Putin, DPR head Denis Pushilin wrote: ‘I ask you as soon as possible, in case of a positive decision in the referendum – which we have no doubt – to consider DPR becoming a part of Russia.’

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian-installed officials in the southern Kherson region, where Moscow’s forces control about 95 percent of the territory, said they had also decided to hold a referendum.

Pro-Russian authorities in part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhia region were expected to follow suit.

Ukraine and the United States have said such referendums would be an illegal sham and have made clear they and many other countries would not recognize the results.

A photo shows damaged houses and a crater in the ground in Siversk, Donetsk region

A photo shows damaged houses and a crater in the ground in Siversk, Donetsk region

A photo shows damaged houses and a crater in the ground in Siversk, Donetsk region

A BM-27 Uragan multiple launch rocket system from Russia's Central Military District fires at an undisclosed location in the Donetsk region,

A BM-27 Uragan multiple launch rocket system from Russia's Central Military District fires at an undisclosed location in the Donetsk region,

A BM-27 Uragan multiple launch rocket system from Russia’s Central Military District fires at an undisclosed location in the Donetsk region,

Ukrainian soldiers ride on top of a military vehicle in Izium, liberated from Russian invaders

Ukrainian soldiers ride on top of a military vehicle in Izium, liberated from Russian invaders

Ukrainian soldiers ride on top of a military vehicle in Izium, liberated from Russian invaders

Dmitry Medvedev, a former president who is currently deputy chairman of the Security Council, suggested before the announcements that the outcome of such votes would be irreversible and give Moscow – which has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world – carte blanche to defend what it wants legally considered his own territory.

“Encroachment on Russian territory is a crime that allows you to use all forces for self-defense,” Medvedev said in a post on Telegram. ‘That is why these referendums are so feared in Kiev and the West.’

No future Russian leader would be able to constitutionally reverse their result, he added.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the head of Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, said his chamber would support the two regions joining Russia if they voted to do so.

Washington and the West have so far been careful not to supply Ukraine with weapons that could be used to shell Russian territory, and Medvedev’s exposition of what a de facto annexation would legally mean from Moscow’s point of view looked like a future warning to the West.

‘They (the referendums) would completely change the vector of Russia’s development for decades. And not only in our country. The geopolitical transformation of the world would be irreversible once the new territories were incorporated into Russia,’ he wrote.

An apartment block destroyed due to the shelling of Russian troops is pictured in Izium

An apartment block destroyed due to the shelling of Russian troops is pictured in Izium

An apartment block destroyed due to the shelling of Russian troops is pictured in Izium

Local residents collect wood for heating from a destroyed school where Russian forces were based

Local residents collect wood for heating from a destroyed school where Russian forces were based

Local residents collect wood for heating from a destroyed school where Russian forces were based

It is unclear how the referendums would be held, as Russian and Russian-backed forces control only about 60% of the Donetsk region, while Ukrainian forces are trying to retake Luhansk.

Pro-Russian officials have previously said the referendums could be held electronically.

The move would come eight years after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.

The referendums were announced after Ukraine said its troops had recaptured the village of Bilohorivka in the Luhansk region and were preparing to retake the entire province, which until now had been fully occupied by Russian forces.

Unconfirmed footage on social media showed Ukrainian forces in the village, located 6 miles west of the town of Lysychansk, which fell to the Russians after weeks of fighting in July.

‘Every centimeter will be fought for,’ Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai wrote on Telegram. ‘The enemy is preparing their defenses. So we don’t just walk in.’

Russia cited taking full control of Luhansk and nearby Donetsk province as the primary goal of what it called its “special military operation” in Ukraine, and claimed that Russian speakers there were persecuted and even fired upon by Ukrainian government forces, something Kyiv denied.

Ukrainian troops began pushing into Luhansk after driving Russian forces out of northeastern Kharkiv province in a lightning counteroffensive this month.

“The occupiers are clearly panicking,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a televised address late Monday, adding that he was now focused on “speed” in liberated areas.

‘The speed at which our troops are moving. The speed of restoring normal life,” Zelenski said.

The Ukrainian leader also hinted that he would use a video address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday to urge countries to speed up the delivery of arms and aid.

Reuters could not independently verify either side’s battlefield reports.