Is Russia using trained dolphins in the war against Ukraine?

The war in Ukraine has reached its third month and Russian armed forces have used a variety of tactics to invade Ukraine. But Is Russia using trained dolphins in the war against Ukraine?

It seems so, Russia has deployed two pens of trained navy dolphins at the entrance to Sevastopol harbour in Crimea, according to the US Naval Institute (USNI).

The USNI concluded satellite images show the pens were moved to the location at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February to protect a Black Sea naval base.

Is Russia using trained dolphins, really?

Sevastopol is said to be Russia’s most significant naval base on the Black Sea, housing high-value ships out of range of Ukrainian missiles – but vulnerable to underwater infiltration and diver operations.

Traditionally, marine mammals have been trained by both US and Russian military to aid in underwater and counter-diver operations.

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A beluga whale wearing a Russian harness

A beluga whale wearing a Russian harness was dubbed a spy for a Russian research programme when he was found off the coast of Norway in 2019.

The US Navy Marine Mammal Program claims dolphins can be trained to “assist security personnel in detecting and apprehending unauthorized swimmers and divers that might attempt to harm the Navy’s people, vessels, or harbour facilities”.