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Separatists vote for leader in breakaway eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists will vote to set up a breakaway regional leadership in the eastern Ukraine region of Donetsk and Luhansk aiming to take their war-torn region closer to Russia and defying Kiev and the West as the big guns still boom across the territory.

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Nato images reveal Russian forces on Ukraine border

Probable Airborne or Spetsnaz Special Forces Brigade at Yeysk Credit: Digital Globe

Nato headquarters in Belgium have released a series of satellite images that appear to show almost 40,000 troops near the Ukrainian border.

The images, from satellite mapping company DigitalGlobe, show lines of tanks, artillery, helicopters and fighter jets that Nato claims could be deployed across the border in a "matter of hours."

A Russian artillery battalion near Novocherkassk Credit: Digital Globe

Brigadier Gary Deakin, told reporters at Nato's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe that Russia's latest troop build up could have a "destablising effect" on the region and present "serious implications" for Ukraine's security.

Su-27/30 fighter jets and three attack helicopters at Primorko-Akhtarsk Air Base Credit: Digital Globe

However, an official in the Russian military general staff said on Thursday that the Nato photographs were taken during an exercise in August 2013, state-run news agency RIA reported.

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