Question on consonants
I understand Ukrainian has soft and hard consonants, and I have a question about the soft consonants and use of the soft sign. Will a consonant always be hard unless the soft sign is there, or do vowels also affect the consonant's softness like in Russian? Are there any other set of rules that determines if a consonant is soft and/or when I should or shouldn't use the soft sign?
I'm very curious about this, I starting learning Ukrainian Cyrillic recently and I noticed it has differences from Russian Cyrillic (i.e, apparently there's no hard sign in Ukrainian) so I want to know the differences in spellings and pronunciation too. Thanks for any replies.