The 28th Mechanized Brigade was raised and based in the Black Sea port of Odesa. For most of the war it has fought in and around the cities of Mykolaiv and Kherson. Probably no other unit in the AFU has more experience on the ground, in the southern sector, where most analysts are predicting the Ukrainian counteroffensive will take place.

At the start of the war with Russia in 2022, the 28th was already fairly combat-experienced formation, with many of its soldiers being veterans of bitter defensive battles in 2014-15 against the regular Russian army in Donbas. In late February 2022 the brigade was initially assigned to defend Odesa from a possible Russian amphibious assault but, the unexpected rapid advances by Kremlin forces out of Crimea, led to an AFU high command decision to throw the 28th into Mykolaiv as a blocking force, where ultimately Ukrainian defenses held. The brigade commander was killed in fighting in July.

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The brigade has served effectively as the western cornerstone of the Ukrainian army line on the southern front since then and it was a lead element in the Ukrainian liberation of Kherson in November.

 

Unofficial unit patch for 28th Mechanized Brigade, published on social media

Russian pressure on the 28th has, relatively speaking, been light in recent months. According to open source reports much of the unit has been pulled back from the line to train for future operations.

It is a conventionally armed Ukrainian army unit with mostly Soviet-era equipment but, in the early months of the war, was beefed up with advanced anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles provided by NATO states. The 28th Brigade is now refreshed, experienced and its soldiers probably know the southern sector’s terrain as well as any local.

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Possible missions for the 28th in any future offensive would be attacks to distract Russian defenses or assaults against prepared Russian positions in the main sector of attack, or less likely, participation in operations on the far side of the Dnipro River.

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