Ukrainian Town Luhansk declares martial rule, invites Russian Troops

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.