Putin’s 810th Refuses to Fight Ukraine’s Dnepr Forces
Russia’s 810th Naval Infantry Brigade is a lot of things at once. Actually, ‘was’ a lot of things at once. Not… ‘is.’
The brigade was formed as the 810th Separate Naval Infantry Regiment at Sevastopol in 1967 during the expansion of the Soviet Naval Infantry. The brigade’s primary role is to conduct amphibious assaults and to provide security for naval installations. The brigade is also trained to conduct special operations, such as counter-terrorism and hostage rescue.
In-line with Russia’s operational philosophy of using their best for the worst, the 810th has been tasked with some of the dreadful missions Russia ever had to face.
Key engagements of the 810th Brigade include participation in the Second Chechen War, the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War, and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. During the Syrian Civil War, a reinforced amphibious battalion from the brigade was deployed to guard and defend the Khmeimim Air Base in Syria. The brigade’s actions in Syria earned it the Order of Zhukov in March 2016.
The 810th’s involvement in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine was significant, with the majority of its personnel participating in the Siege of Mariupol and the Battle of Azovstal. However, the brigade suffered heavy losses in Mariupol, leading to the need for reconstitution by the Russian Ministry of Defense. There were reports of mutiny within the brigade, with more than 200 personnel refusing to return to front-line combat in July 2022. The Ukrainian General Staff claimed that more than 85% of the brigade’s personnel were lost in the Kherson direction, and the unit had to be largely rebuilt with new personnel.
During a discussion with The War Zone on September 23, 2023, Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s HUR, stated that the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade suffered a complete defeat in the south of Ukraine during the Ukrainian counteroffensive in 2023. Bodanov’s claim was corroborated by the Institute for the Study of War, which noted that this marked at least the third instance of the brigade’s decimation and subsequent reformation by…