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Zelensky appoints new head of Special Operations Forces

by Elsa Court November 3, 2023 7:22 PM 1 min read
A photo published on July 29 shows President Volodymyr Zelensky, Zelensky's Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak, and the now ex-Head of Special Operations Forces Viktor Khorenko talking in Donetsk Oblast. (President Volodymyr Zelensky)
This audio is created with AI assistance

President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed Brigadier General Viktor Khorenko from his role as the commander of the Special Operations Forces (SOF), according to a presidential decree published online on Nov. 3.

A separate decree announced that the new commander of the unit is Serhii Lupanchuk.  

In his evening address, Zelensky described Lupanchuk as an "experienced officer and the right person to "give our Special Operations Forces more power."

Khorenko will "continue to carry out special tasks as part of the Main Directorate of Intelligence," Zelensky said.

The SOF became an independent branch of the Ukrainian military in 2016, making it one of the seven branches of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Its soldiers often conduct reconnaissance missions and covert operations behind enemy lines.

The force claimed responsibility for overnight strikes on Russian military airfields in occupied Luhansk and Berdiansk on Oct. 17, which destroyed nine helicopters, an air defense system, and an ammunition warehouse.

Earlier in October, the SOF reported that a unit of its "Resistance Movement" sabotaged a train in Russian-occupied Melitopol that was carrying ammunition and fuel for the Russian military.

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