Putin Deploys Top-Secret Attack Dolphins in War on Ukraine – The Daily Beast

Russia is using militarized marine mammals to protect a key Black Sea naval base, according to multiple reports. Satellite imagery shows what military experts believe are two dolphin pens floating off the mouth of its key navy base in Sevastopol harbor off Crimea.

Military analyst H.I. Sutton first broke the news in the USNI military outlet after analyzing current and archival satellite imagery which he says show that the pens were put there in February to coincide with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia keeps some of its most important military hardware at the base and the dolphins are likely trained for operations that would counter enemy divers or retrieve explosives to protect the port.

Russia first used militarized dolphins and whales during the Cold War. In 2019, a giant Beluga whale wearing a curious Russian harness with a camera attached was spotted off the coast of Norway. The whale, named Hvaldimir as a nod to hval, the Norwegian word for whale, and Vladimir Putin, was believed to be a Russian spy. Russian whale pens have also been spotted on satellite imagery of Russia’s super secret GUGI naval intelligence base.

The Naval Information Warfare Center says marine mammals can be trained to do everything from attach recovery cords to lost equipment to attacking and even apprehending divers or swimmers who breach security areas. They can also identify and mark locations for underwater mines.

The dolphins at the mouth of the Crimea port are likely used to deter underwater sabotage attempts. It is unclear if any are also used as explosive devices. Russia kept its dolphin training base in Crimea after its annexation in 2014. The Moscow Times reported at the time that Russia was training the dolphins to plant explosives on ships.

The U.S. has used highly trained dolphins and sea lions for similar activities since the 1960s, according to the Washington Post. North Korea and Israel also reportedly have military mammal programs for defensive purposes.

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Putin Deploys Top-Secret Attack Dolphins in War on Ukraine – The Daily Beast

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