The Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Rustem Umerov, has refused to explain in detail the reasons for the dismissal of Commander of the Special Operations Forces (SSO) Viktor Khorenko. According to Umerov, “he is now needed in another direction.”

Khorenko has held the post since July 2022 but was mysteriously dismissed following a mass media interview on Oct. 31 – the first such interview of his tenure.

"To additionally comment on the reasons and prerequisites for changing senior military positions during the war is to give grounds to the enemy to weaken Ukraine," Umerov wrote on Facebook.

Umerov clarified that Khorenko will continue to serve in the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

On Nov. 3, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on the appointment of a new commander of the SSO, Serhiy Lupanchuk.


In an address following the results of the 618th day of the war, Zelensky clarified that Khorenko would continue to perform special tasks as part of Ukrainian military intelligence.

On Nov. 4, the Office of the President of Ukraine reported that Khorenko was dismissed on Umerov's recommendation.

Khorenko stated that he did not know why he was fired from his post.

“I don't know the reasons [for the dismissal] personally. I will say this: I learned about it from the mass media. I also spoke with the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces [Valery Zaluzhny], who could not explain it to me,” Khorenko said on a “Ukrainska Pravda” talk show.

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Meanwhile, a recent and controversial TIME magazine article by Simon Shuster – with reference to unnamed sources – discussed upcoming reshuffles in the Ukrainian leadership. Sources alleged that a minister and high-ranking general would be dismissed, who would be held responsible for “slow progress at the front” during the counteroffensive.

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