A woman displays her passport after receiving it during a ceremony to issue the first passports of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic. (REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)
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Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine's separatist Donetsk province on Wednesday began issuing their own passports in a bid to reassert their independence from the Western-backed leaders in Kiev.The first passports were issued to the industrial region's rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko and a group of teenagers who turned 18 during the 23-month conflict and are required to have their own identity papers.Zakharchenko seemed undeterred by Moscow's uncommitted position.South Ossetia is a separatist region of the pro-Western former Soviet republic of Georgia whose independence was recognised by Russia after the two countries' brief 2008 war.Zakharchenko said the Donetsk passports must be held by anyone who intended to take part in the region's disputed and still unscheduled local polls.
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