Russia has deployed trained Navy dolphins at the entrance to the Crimean port of Sevastopol, according to the US Naval Institute (USNI).
The satellite imagery led USNI to conclude that it depicted dolphins being transported to the site at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February to protect a naval base in the Black Sea.
Sevastopol is said to be Russia’s most important naval base on the Black Sea, housing high-value ships outside the range of Ukrainian missiles – but vulnerable to underwater attacks and divers’ operations.
Traditionally, marine mammals have been trained by both the US and Russian military to assist in submarine and anti-submarine operations.
A beluga whale wearing a Russian leash was identified as a “spy” for a Russian research project when it was found off the coast of Norway in 2019.
The U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program claims that dolphins can be trained to “assist security personnel in locating and apprehending unauthorized swimmers and divers who may attempt to harm people, ships or port facilities in the Navy.” .