USNI News has learnt that during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, trained dolphins were deployed to protect a Black Sea naval outpost as reported by USNI.
The Russian Navy has placed two dolphin pens at the entrance to Sevastopol harbour, sheltered just inside a sea wall.
The dolphins may be tasked with counter-diver operations — a traditional role both the U.S. and Russia have trained marine mammals for.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the unit transitioned to the Ukrainian military.
Although there were attempts to keep it operational, it barely stayed open.
Subsequently, the marine mammal programs have been expanded and returned to operational service.
Marine mammal programs
This is part of the Russian military’s wider reinvestment in marine mammal programs in the past 10 years.
The Arctic unit has also become more active in recent years.
The intelligence organization is believed to be responsible for key undersea espionage assets of the Russian military.
On April 23, 2019, a trained beluga whale turned up in northern Norway.
It’s not just the Arctic that has shown signs of increased use of Russian marine mammals.
In 2018 the Black Sea Fleet’s dolphins were deployed for several months to Russia’s Mediterranean Sea naval base in Tartus, Syria, according to satellite photos.
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