Russia deploys trained dolphins to protect Black Sea base, satellite images show – New York Post

Russia has deployed trained military dolphins to protect its Black Sea naval base against underwater attacks during the invasion of Ukraine, according to an analysis of satellite images.

The US Naval Institute reviewed the imagery from the Sevastopol harbor, concluding that two dolphin pens were moved to the base in February at the beginning of the military offensive.

The militarized mammals may have been tasked with counter-diver operations to prevent Ukrainian special-ops forces from entering the harbor underwater to sabotage warships, according to the report.

During the Cold War, the Soviet navy developed several marine mammal programs, including dolphin training in the Black Sea, where a unit was established at Kazachya Bukhta near Sevastopol, USNI News said.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the units were transferred to the Ukrainian armed forces, but Russia regained them following the annexation of Crimea in 2014, according to the site.

H.I. Sutton, an expert on underwater systems who first reported on the dolphins in Sevastopol, said marine mammals – including dolphins, beluga whales, sea lions and seals – are trained to find enemy divers and detect mines, Business Insider reported.

He said that in addition to Russia, the US, Israel and North Korea also use such mammals in military operations.

During the Cold War, the Soviet navy developed several marine mammal programs, including dolphin training in the Black Sea.
During the Cold War, the Soviet navy developed several marine mammal programs, including dolphin training in the Black Sea.
AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service
The militarized mammals may have been tasked with counter-diver operations to prevent Ukrainian special-ops forces from entering the harbor underwater to sabotage warships.
The militarized mammals may have been tasked with counter-diver operations to prevent Ukrainian special-ops forces from entering the harbor underwater to sabotage warships.
AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

In the Arctic, Russia uses beluga whales and seals, both of which have heavy layers of fat to keep warm and are better protected against the cold than the bottlenose dolphins used in the Black Sea, according to the USNI.

On April 23, 2019, a trained beluga whale nicknamed “Hvaldimir” turned up in northern Norway, but is believed to have escaped from the Russian Navy program, according to the BBC.

In 2018, the Black Sea Fleet’s dolphins were deployed to Russia’s Mediterranean Sea base in Tartus, Syria, USNI reported.

Experts have said that the marine mammals are used to detect mines as well as to find enemy divers.
Experts have said that the marine mammals are used to detect mines as well as to find enemy divers.

The pens used for that deployment were very similar to the ones seen in the Sevastopol harbor, according to the report.

It was unclear whether Ukraine has planned any underwater operations against Sevastopol, USNI said.

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Russia deploys trained dolphins to protect Black Sea base, satellite images show – New York Post

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