The European Union has condemned and termed as "illegal" elections held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the polls were "a new obstacle on the path towards peace".

The central government in Kiev also described as "farce" the polls in the two self-proclaimed people's republics in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Russia said it "respects the will of the people" in the polls, where the two current rebel leaders are set to win.

Self-proclaimed election officials say early results suggest Alexander Zakharchenko will become the regional head in Donetsk, while Igor Plotnisky will secure a victory in Luhansk.

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