Russia Strengthens Its Anti-Diver Dolphin Squad
Russia is boosting security at the significant base of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol harbor by increasing the number of dolphin guards trained to identify and halt any underwater invasion. This is done out of concern for the danger posed by Ukrainian scuba-diving saboteurs.
The Russian Navy has made significant investments in enhancing the security of its Black Sea base in occupied Crimea since summer 2022, according to an update released on June 23 by the UK’s Defence Intelligence Agency, but in recent weeks has increased its precautions in light of Ukraine’s impending counteroffensive.
According to agency overhead photos of the facility, the number of floating mammal enclosures that are “highly likely” to house trained bottlenose dolphins has almost doubled. At least four layers of nets and booms across the harbor entrance are also part of the improved defenses.
The Russian navy also deploy beluga whales and seals for military operations in Arctic seas. Along with training them to fight enemy divers, it also prepares marine animals for various other tasks.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive has already targeted infrastructure close to Crimea to retake all of the territory that Russia has captured. Special troops or drone attacks from Ukraine would focus on the Black Sea Fleet.
A well-known Approach
Up to its demise in 1991, the Soviet Union used trained animals stationed in Sevastopol, and the Ukrainian navy carried on the practice covertly. Following its 2014 invasion of Crimea, Russia intensified it, deploying trained dolphins to Tartus in Syria the following year.
The US Navy has been training dolphins and sea lions “as teammates for our sailors and marines” since 1959 and deploying them since the Vietnam War, thus, the practice of enlisting marine creatures is not exclusive to Russia. The Point Loma military installation in San Diego has a marine-mammal program to protect against dangers from the ocean below.
The United States has consistently denied teaching dolphins to murder; other experts say that “dolphin soldiers” are unreliable. However, due to their excellent underwater hunting abilities, dolphins are “ideal for killing human divers… fast, clever and powerful… any diver in the harbor at night would be a target,” according to naval historian Prof. Andrew Lambert of King’s College London.
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