Ukraine rebel leader sworn in

Ukraine rebel leader sworn in

The leader of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine has been officially sworn in after an election that was roundly condemned by the West as destabilising.

Alexander Zakharchenko was inaugurated in a heavily guarded theatre in the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

His election was largely a formality as no viable candidates opposed him, but separatist authorities have held up the vote as a mandate to pursue their secessionist goals.

Ukraine and Western governments say the polls gravely endangered a ceasefire agreed in early September. Although fighting eased after the truce, hostilities have continued almost daily.

The ceasefire agreement was signed by rebel leaders, and Ukrainian and Russian officials envisioned local elections being held across the whole of the east, but under Ukrainian law.

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