Separatists flew the Russian flag on armoured vehicles taken from the Ukrainian army on Wednesday, humiliating a Kiev government operation to recapture eastern towns controlled by pro-Moscow partisans.
The armoured personnel carriers were driven into the rebel-held town of Slaviansk to waves and shouts of "Russia! Russia!". It was not immediately clear whether they had been captured by rebels or handed to them by Ukrainian deserters.
The military setback leaves Kiev looking impotent before a peace conference in Geneva on Thursday, when its foreign minister will meet his Russian counterpart for the first time. (Reuters)