Special forces commander Khorenko dismissed at Umerov’s request, President’s Office says

Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Viktor Khorenko on July 29, 2023
Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Viktor Khorenko on July 29, 2023

Ukrainian Special Operations Forces (SOF) commander Viktor Khorenko was dismissed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the request of Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, Deputy Head of the Presidential Office Roman Mashovets told NV's sister publication Ukrainska Pravda.

"According to the law of Ukraine on national security, commanders of branches and separate types of troops (forces) of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are appointed and dismissed by the President of Ukraine at the proposal of the Minister of Defense. Such a proposal was received by the President’s Office in accordance with the current legislation."

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Paragraph 5 of Article 16 of the Law on National Security of Ukraine has this wording, Ukrainska Pravda wrote.

Khorenko had commanded the SOF since July 25, 2022. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has already appointed a new commander of the Special Operations Forces, Colonel Serhiy Lupanchuk, according to a decree published on the presidential website on Nov. 3. Khorenko was dismissed the same day.

Khorenko said he was unaware of his dismissal until he heard about it on the news.

“I personally don't know the reason," Khorenko said. According to him, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi similarly didn’t know Zelenskyy was replacing the SOF commander until after it happened.

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The Special Operations Forces are a separate branch of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which includes special forces and information and psychological special operations units. They are staffed by specially trained professionals with special capabilities in the areas of intelligence, direct action and military support, and perform complex, dangerous and sometimes politically sensitive operations.

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