East Ukraine town of Luhansk declares martial rule

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.

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.

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