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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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Kerry: 'Russian agents' behind unrest in Ukraine

Armed men in masks, representing Ukrainian special forces, stand guard outside the regional administration building in Kharkiv. Credit: Reuters\Olga Ivashchenko

US Secretary of State John Kerry squarely blamed Russian agents on Tuesday for separatist unrest in eastern Ukraine, saying Moscow could be trying to lay the groundwork for military action like in Crimea.

"It is clear that Russian special forces and agents have been the catalyst behind the chaos of the last 24 hours," Kerry told lawmakers, adding this "could potentially be a contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea."

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