Kiev: The self proclaimed Luhansk People`s Republic in eastern Ukraine Thursday declared martial law and asked Russia to send troops to protect civilians, a media report said.
"I order the imposition of martial law and declare full mobilisation on the territory of the Luhansk Republic," Xinhua quoted Valery Bolotov, the self-proclaimed head of the republic, as saying.
Bolotov also released a video addressed to Russia`s leadership asking for "peacekeeping troops" in a bid to "resist aggression against civilians".
"Ukrainian troops have committed an act of aggression against civilians, the illegitimate Kiev government is carrying out a punitive operation against Lugansk republic," Bolotov said.
He said the militia was not equipped to resist Ukrainian troops by itself.
Russian forces, which have been holding military exercises near Ukraine`s border, began returning to their bases Wednesday, according to the Russian defence ministry.
Armed activists in Luhansk and its neighbouring Donetsk regions established "people`s republics" in early April and held referendums on their future status May 11.