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.