Tanks seen in Donetsk after Putin recognises breakaway regions - Reuters witness

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DONETSK, Ukraine, Feb 22 (Reuters) - A Reuters witness saw columns of military vehicles including tanks early Tuesday on the outskirts of Donetsk, the capital of one of two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised them as independent states.

The Reuters reporter saw about five tanks in a column on the edge of the city and two more in another part of town.

No insignia were visible, but the appearance of the tanks came hours after Putin signed friendship treaties with the two separatist regions and ordered Russian troops to deploy on what Moscow called a peacekeeping operation.

Reuters reporters in Donetsk had not seen tanks on the streets in previous days.

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Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya; Writing by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Christopher Cushing an Stephen Coates

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