MOSCOW, July 3 /TASS/. Two senior Ukrainian traffic officers, Vitaly Balbekov and Alexey Kobzar, who defected to the side of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said on Friday that they hoped to continue serving in the republic’s law enforcement bodies.
"We have come here with a single purpose to continue serving our people and our city," Vitaly Balbekov told a news conference at the Donetsk News Agency.
He added that he and his friend Alexey Kobzar had applied for service to the Interior Ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic. "We have asked its leadership about that. I hope they will be able to meet our request halfway. At least, they promised us," Balbekov said.
Both officers used to be employees responsible for road traffic and the state of roads at the Ukrainian Road Traffic Inspectorate of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry for the Donetsk region.
"We came under the influence of our commanders who ordered us to leave Donetsk. They promised it would be two weeks. We found ourselves in Mariupol. Two weeks, a month and a year passed. Over that time we understood we had made a mistake and decided to return home to our native city where we were born, grew up and lived all our lives and where we have family and relatives," Balbekov told journalists.
His fellow-officer, Alexey Kobzar, said the militias had received them well.
It’s not the first time that Ukrainian officers who disagree with the Kiev government’s actions switch sides and defect to the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. On June 22, Major General Alexander Kolomiyets, the former aide to Ukraine’s defence minister, defected to the side of the DPR. Prior to that, Oleg Chernousov, the former chief of the Luhansk customs, and the two brothers, Alexey and Yuri Miroshnichenko — both were Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service employees who worked at the Ukrainian embassy in Paris — had returned to Luhansk over disagreement with Kiev’s official policy.