OAN’s Taylor Tinsley
Updated 11:48 AM – Tuesday, June 27, 2023
The Russian military is making major investments into the security of the Black Sea Fleet’s main base at Sevastopol by increasing its number of trained marine animals.
A recent intelligence report from the U.K. Ministry of Defence showed satellite images that depict at least four layers of nets and booms across the harbors entry port in Russian-controlled Crimea. This means the Russian Navy is boosting its number of marine trained animals to “counter enemy divers.” Imagery showed a near doubling of floating mammal pens in the harbor, said to likely contain bottle-nosed dolphins.
Moscow is tightening security measures as a result of the Black Sea Fleet being the target of several drone attacks since the start of the war in Ukraine, but the Ukrainian Government has denied any involvement.
The Soviet Navy started training marine animals during the Cold War including dolphins, seals, and beluga whales to carry out secret missions as well as detect mines, submarines, and suspicious objects for decades.
A harness wearing beluga whale that was first spotted in Norway in 2019 is suspected of being a spy for the Russian Navy. An action camera was strapped to his harness with the words “Equipment of St. Petersberg.” Locals named him ‘Hvaldimir’, which is a combination of the Norwegian word for whale – Hval – and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The whale made another appearance in Sweden earlier this year and officials have asked people to avoid contact.
Meanwhile, Russia isn’t the only country training marine animals. Dolphins and sea lions have been helping the U.S. Navy save lives underwater since the 1960’s.
The farthest a dolphin has ever been recorded to dive is nearly 1,000 feet. Sea lions, on the other hand, exhale before taking a dive and can go to depths between 450 and 900 feet.
The Navy tried to end the program last year so they could use new advanced technology instead, but the move was stalled by Congress until the Navy can prove new countermeasure systems are better than its mine-detecting dolphins.
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