In the city of Slovyansk, which has been a flashpoint in the Donetsk region, the pro-Russian, self-styled "mayor," Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, called for Russian troops to provide stability and peace.

Ponomaryov described Ukrainian troops as occupiers.

Speaking in the administrative building in Slovyansk, the stronhgold of the armed rebels in eastern Ukraine, he said that Ukrainian soldiers "should go."

Asked whether the "Donetsk People's Republic" needed Russian military help, Ponomaryov replied: "I support this. We need Russian troops to provide stability and a peaceful life in the region's future."

The statement comes a day after "Donetsk People's Republic" held so-called referendum on independence of the region. It declared itself an independent country and  asked to join Russia.

Earlier, Kyiv had launcged anti-terrorist operation in south-east Ukraine, amid separatists seized government buildings, seeking for region's independence.

Dozens separatists were killed during the operation.