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Separatists seize Ukrainian tanks
16 Apr 2014 23:11
Separatists have flown the Russian flag on armoured vehicles taken from the Ukrainian army today.
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The action humiliated a Kiev government operation to recapture eastern towns controlled by pro-Russia partisans.
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Six armoured personnel carriers were driven into the rebel-held town of Slaviansk to waves and shouts of "Russia! Russia!".
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It was not clear whether they had been captured by rebels or handed over to them by Ukrainian deserters.
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Another 15 armoured troop carriers full of paratroops were surrounded and halted by a pro-Russian crowd at a town near an airbase.
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They were allowed to retreat only after the soldiers had handed over the firing pins from their rifles to a rebel commander.
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The military setback leaves Ukraine looking weak on the eve of a peace conference tomorrow, when its foreign minister will meet his Russian, US and European Union counterparts in Geneva.
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