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Rebel beauty pageant: Female Ukrainian rebels trade in combat boots for high heels

  • Russia-backed female rebel fighters pose with the flag of the Donetsk People's Republic during a beauty contest involving women from the main separatist battalions in Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, March 7, 2015. Self-proclaimed authorities in the rebel-held Donetsk held a beauty pageant for female rebel fighters on the eve of March 8, a women's day widely celebrated throughout the former Soviet Union.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    Russia-backed female rebel fighters pose with the flag of the Donetsk People's Republic during a beauty contest involving women from the main separatist battalions in Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, March 7, 2015. Self-proclaimed authorities in the rebel-held Donetsk held a beauty pageant for female rebel fighters on the eve of March 8, a women's day widely celebrated throughout the former Soviet Union.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russia-backed female rebel fighters wave while posing for media after a beauty contest involving women from the main separatist battalions in Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, March 7, 2015. Self-proclaimed authorities in the rebel-held Donetsk held a beauty pageant for female rebel fighters on the eve of March 8, a women's day widely celebrated throughout the former Soviet Union.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    Russia-backed female rebel fighters wave while posing for media after a beauty contest involving women from the main separatist battalions in Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, March 7, 2015. Self-proclaimed authorities in the rebel-held Donetsk held a beauty pageant for female rebel fighters on the eve of March 8, a women's day widely celebrated throughout the former Soviet Union.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Russia-backed female rebel fighter holds military boots as she prepares to go on stage during a beauty contest involving women from the main separatist battalions in Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, March 7, 2015. Self-proclaimed authorities in the rebel-held Donetsk held a beauty pageant for female rebel fighters on the eve of March 8, a women's day widely celebrated throughout the former Soviet Union.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    A Russia-backed female rebel fighter holds military boots as she prepares to go on stage during a beauty contest involving women from the main separatist battalions in Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, March 7, 2015. Self-proclaimed authorities in the rebel-held Donetsk held a beauty pageant for female rebel fighters on the eve of March 8, a women's day widely celebrated throughout the former Soviet Union.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

Trading in their combat boots and fatigues for high heels and ball gowns, female rebel fighters who normally fight Ukrainian soldiers have taken the day off to take part in a beauty pageant.

The event was organized by self-proclaimed authorities in the rebel-held city of Donetsk on Saturday.

Women from three main rebel battalions showed off their dinner dresses before they changed back to fatigues to receive prizes and roses.

Most of the women were local residents who followed their husbands or boyfriends to the front. One of the contestants was a woman from the Russian city of Bryansk.

The pageant was held on the eve of International Women's Day, a widely celebrated throughout the former Soviet Union.