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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

A terrifying cascade of Russian incendiary shells slammed into a Ukrainian village in apocalyptic footage shared by its defense ministry.

The recently liberated village of Ozerne in Donetsk was targeted by Kremlin forces just days after recapturing it amid a staggering Kyiv counteroffensive, according to Ukraine.

Their images show countless shells raining down on the village, hitting buildings and illuminating 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 falling on the recently liberated village of Ozerne in the Donetsk region.”

Ozerne is a village in Bakhmut raion in Donetsk Oblast, eastern Ukraine.

The 9M22S round, typically used by vehicles such as the BM-21 ‘Grad’ multiple launch rocket systems, is designed for use against flammable targets and personnel.

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

The move, which seriously escalates Moscow’s standoff with the West, comes after Russia suffered a battlefield reversal in northeastern Ukraine.

The recently liberated village of Ozerne in Donetsk was targeted by Kremlin forces just days after its recapture

The recently liberated village of Ozerne in Donetsk was targeted by Kremlin forces just days after its recapture

The 9M22S round, typically used by vehicles such as the BM-21 'Grad' multiple launch rocket systems, is designed for use against flammable targets and personnel

The 9M22S round, typically used by vehicles such as the BM-21 ‘Grad’ multiple launch rocket systems, is designed for use against flammable targets and personnel

A man walks through the ruins of a building destroyed by recent shelling during the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in the town of Kadiivka

A man walks through the ruins of a building destroyed by recent shelling during the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in the town of Kadiivka

The self-declared Russian-backed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) and neighboring Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have said planned referendums will be held from September 23-27.

In a social media post to Putin, DPR leader Denis Pushilin wrote: “I ask you, as soon as possible, in the event of a positive decision in the referendum – of which we have no doubt – to consider the DPR to become part of Russia.’

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

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

Ukraine and the United States have declared such referendums an illegal sham and have made it clear that they and many other countries will 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 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 servicemen climb atop a military vehicle in Izium, liberated from Russian invaders

Ukrainian servicemen climb atop a military vehicle in Izium, liberated from Russian invaders

Dmitry Medvedev, a former president who is currently vice president of the Security Council, hinted ahead of the announcements that the outcome of such votes would be irreversible and give Moscow – which has the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons – a map white to defend what she would legally consider her own territory.

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

No future Russian leader would be able to constitutionally reverse their outcome, 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 bomb Russian territory, and Medvedev’s interpretation of what de facto annexation would mean legally sight of Moscow looked like a future warning to the West.

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

A building destroyed due to shelling by Russian troops is pictured in Izium

A building destroyed due to shelling by 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

It is unclear how the referendums would play out given that Russian and Russian-backed forces only control about 60% of the Donetsk region, while Ukrainian forces are trying to retake Lugansk.

Pro-Russian officials have previously said 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.

Unverified footage on social media showed Ukrainian forces in the village, 10km west of the town of Lysychansk, which fell to the Russians after weeks of fighting in July.

“There will be fights for every inch,” Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai wrote on Telegram. “The enemy is preparing his defence. So we’re not just going to go in.

Russia has named the full takeover of Luhansk and the neighboring province of Donetsk as the main objectives of what it called its “special military operation” in Ukraine, alleging that Russian speakers there were persecuted and even bombed by the Ukrainian government forces, which Kyiv denied.

Ukrainian troops began pushing into Lugansk after driving Russian forces from northeastern Kharkiv province in a lightning counteroffensive this month.

“The occupiers are clearly panicked,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a televised address Monday evening, adding that his focus was now on “speed” in the 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 at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday to call on countries to speed up arms and aid deliveries.

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

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