U.K Officials Believe Russia Is Likely Training Combat Dolphins To Aid In Ukraine War

The U.K. Ministry of Defence said it’s “likely” that Russia is training combat dolphins to defend the Navy base in Sevastopol.

Russia’s Navy has been strengthening security at its base in occupied Crimea since last summer, per the update. The imagery of the base highlights a rising number of floating mammal pens, most likely housing bottlenose dolphins.

Combat Dolphins
Representation Image

This includes four layers of nets and booms across the harbour entrance. Over the recent weeks, the defences have likely been enhanced by an increased number of trained marine mammals, mentioned the statement.

Russia has earlier used Beluga seals and whales in the Arctic regions for the navy’s surveillance missions, per the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence.

What can dolphins do?

Per a PBS Frontline episode called “A Whale of a Business,” dolphins can detect and mark underwater mines. They have the power to see enemy swimmers.

Interestingly, bottlenose dolphins use echolocation to locate objects underwater and have the most sophisticated sonar known to science, per the Naval Information Warfare Center (abbreviated NIWC). Their unique low-light vision and underwater directional hearing make them extremely helpful and valuable for surveillance and defence missions, per the NIWC.

Dolphins have been used by the U.S. military earlier
Both the Soviet Union and the U.S. raced to train marine mammals at the time of the Cold War, per the PBS Frontline Documentary.

At one point in the 1980s, the U.S. program had more than 100 dolphins and numerous beluga whales and sea lions, with an operating budget of $8 million, the episode informed.

Dolphins played a vital role in the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf. They were patrolling anchored vessels with sonar and alerting the trainer guards of enemy swimmers. Rumours circulated during the Vietnam War that the Navy had trained dolphins to attack and kill enemy divers, even though the Navy claims that no dolphins were trained to kill humans, per Frontline.

In the past, Russia has used marine mammals to satisfy military purposes. A Beluga whale 2019, with an attached camera, was discovered off the Norway coast, making friends with local people. The whale was suspected to be a part of Russia’s surveillance mission.

What it means

The suspected dolphin training comes with amped-up security at the Russia base in Sevastopol following drone strikes this year in April. A suspected drone strike by Ukraine ignited a Crimean oil depot and hit three “unmanned boats” in the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Russia has long occupied Crimea for nine years now. Since Russia invaded Ukraine over a year ago, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also pledged to drive Russia’s forces out of Ukraine’s territory, including Crimea.

References: Yahoo! News, Daily Wire, The New York Post, USA Today

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