Pro-Russian separatists marched captured Ukrainian soldiers through the streets of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk Sunday, as supporters hurled insults, eggs and bottles at those captured.
The spectacle came as President Petro Poroshenko said he would increase military spending by $3 billion over the next few years to defeat rebels in the east as a way to mark Ukraine's 23rd anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union.
"Kiev said that on the 24th, on the Independence Day of Ukraine, they would have a parade. Indeed, they did march in Donetsk, although it wasn't a parade," top rebel commander Alexander Zakharchenko said. "Soldiers of the armed forces of Kiev walked along the main streets of Donetsk. What Poroshenko planned has taken place."
Perhaps feeling empowered, Sunday's events come just one day after a Russian convoy carrying aid and perhaps military supplies entered and departed the separatists stronghold.
"Today is the so-called independence day of what was Ukraine. And look what has happened to their equipment. This is what has become of Ukraine!" a pro-Russian rebel fighter who identified herself by her battle name, Nursa, told the Associated Press.
But, as some point out, marching captured soldiers is not just part of a propaganda war.