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Soldat Shevchenko

81st Airmobile Brigade

     This mannequin represents a paratrooper of Ukraine's 81st Airmobile Brigade. The set is based upon a uniform actually worn by a member of the 81st, Shevchenko, but includes other pieces to create a representative field setup.

     The 81st Brigade is one of Ukraine’s primary air assault units, first forming in 2014 and taking part in numerous major engagements during the fighting in the Donbas. When Russia invaded the country in February 2022, the brigade began its war defending the town of Izyum in the early fighting before moving to Luhansk and Donetsk wherever their more elite training was needed to best hold off the many well-trained and heavily armed Russian armored forces they often faced off against. Throughout the summer the brigade continued its hopping movements to various areas of the line, notably playing a role once again in the fighting over Izyum before moving for more long-term operations in Donetsk where the brigade spent most of its time for the rest of the summer and fall. It was during this period it accomplished its greatest success, liberating the critical railway juncture of Lyman. During the Kharkiv Counteroffensive, the 81st led the charge back into the city and spearheaded the intense fighting around its settlements. For several weeks the unit engaged with several Russian motorized regiments and even a notable Spetznatz detachment before nearly encircling the invading forces, driving them out for good and freeing the major strategic city. In the last several months the brigade has primarily held ground at Bilohorivka outside of Severodonetsk where it has faced many BARS combat reserve units of the Russian army.

​     This uniform was found near Lyman in the last few months where it had clearly been of no more use to Shevchenko who once wore it. Beyond being heavily stained, muddy, dirt-clod, and worn, the jacket was clearly involved in some sort of explosion, probably while Shevchenko was not wearing it, as shrapnel has torn various parts of the jacket, including the brigade patch on its left sleeve. Most scathingly, a piece of shrapnel is actually still melted into the liner from whenever the burning metal originally hit the uniform. The uniform is a pattern known as mm14, adopted as the standard issue of the Ukrainian army in 2014, but was manufactured in 2021. The plate carrier is the Ukrainian standard-issue Temp-3000. The carrier also features some graffiti from its former owner, likely his initials and a Star of David, likely signifying a soldier of Jewish descent. The helmet is an American PASGT, a common sight still seen used amongst Ukrainian troops.

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