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Russia Deploys Trained Dolphins to Black Sea in ‘Wild’ Escalation

The following article, Russia Deploys Trained Dolphins to Black Sea in ‘Wild’ Escalation, was first published on Flag And Cross.

Russia already tried calling in the cavalry in their still-fumbling invasion of Ukraine, and now it’s time to call in the critters.

In one of the more bizarre escalations thus far in the conflict, the Russian Navy is turning to their military’s trained dolphins to help protect a base in the Black Sea.

The Russian Navy has placed two dolphin pens at the entrance to Sevastopol harbor, sheltered just inside a sea wall. The pens were moved there in February, around the time of the invasion of Ukraine, according to a review of satellite imagery.

So what might the creatures contribute to the war effort?

Sevastopol is the Russian Navy’s most significant naval base in the Black Sea. The dolphins may be tasked with counter-diver operations — a traditional role both the U.S. and Russia have trained marine mammals for. This could prevent Ukrainian special operations forces from infiltrating the harbor underwater to sabotage warships.

Inside the port, many high-value Russian Navy ships are arranged out of range of Ukrainian missiles but vulnerable to undersea sabotage, according to satellite photos. During the Cold War the Soviet Navy developed several marine mammal programs, including dolphin training in the Black Sea. The unit was based at Kazachya Bukhta near Sevastopol, where it still is today.

In cooler climates, the Russian Navy has trained both Beluga whales and seals to perform similar tasks.

 

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