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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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War-weary Ukrainians head to polls

Ukrainians vote in an election that is likely to install a pro-Western parliament and strengthen President Petro Poroshenko's mandate to end separatist conflict in the east, but could fuel tension with Russia.

People vote in the election. Credit: Reuters

People wrapped up warmly on a cold, clear day to vote in the first parliamentary poll since protests in the capital Kiev last winter forced Moscow-backed leader Viktor Yanukovich to flee and ushered in a pro-Europe leadership under Poroshenko.

Ukrainian servicemen hold their ballots during a parliamentary election. Credit: Reuters

In eastern regions controlled by the army, soldiers armed with automatic rifles and wearing bulletproof jackets guarded polling stations under the yellow and blue Ukrainian flag.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko walks out of a voting booth. Credit: Reuters

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