Putin deploys combat dolphins to take on Ukrainian commandos: Trained animals are moved closer to the front line following spate of raids in Crimea
- Satellite images indicate dolphin pens at Novoozerne, near Ukrainian forces
Russia has moved its unique combat dolphins closer to the war frontline in the Black Sea, it has been revealed.
The specially trained anti-sabotage mammals had been deployed at the harbour entrance in Sevastopol.
But satellite images now indicate dolphin sea pens at Novoozerne, 56 miles to the north, closer to where Ukrainian special forces have made incursions and landed on the Crimean peninsula.
The dolphins are trained for use against enemy divers intruding in harbours to plant limpet mines or for reconnaissance.
They have been taught to alert their human controllers – or deliver lethal strikes from underwater guns.
Satellite images (pictured) now indicate dolphin sea pens at Novoozerne, 56 miles to the north, closer to where Ukrainian special forces have made incursions and landed on the Crimean peninsula
A small Russian ‘spy dolphin’ carries a bomb during a training exercise (file image)
Novoozerne is a former Soviet submarine base where Russia has deployed missile corvettes, landing craft and some support vessels including a submarine support ship, says OSINT researcher H I Sutton who analysed satellite images to spot the dolphin pens
Novoozerne is a former Soviet submarine base where Russia has deployed missile corvettes, landing craft and some support vessels including a submarine support ship, says OSINT researcher H I Sutton who analysed satellite images to spot the dolphin pens.
READ MORE: Russia ‘doubles the number of trained dolphins guarding its Black Sea Fleet over fears of Ukrainian attack’
‘The deployment is likely to defend against Ukrainian special forces who present a real threat in the area,’ reported the researcher in Naval News.
‘Trained dolphins are considered effective against military divers.
‘There is no human, however athletic or well trained, who can out-swim them.
‘And their inbuilt sonar gives them an even greater advantage.’
The mammal move towards the war zone by Vladimir Putin’s forces comes as the dictator has been forced to shift the bulk of his warships from Sevastopol – headquarters of his Black Sea Fleet – to Novorossiysk due to Ukrainian missile and drone strikes.
The bottlenose dolphin squadron was conscripted by Putin when he seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
‘We had to practically start from scratch to teach the [mammals] to search for objects under the water because the Ukrainian Navy hardly worked with them,’ a Russian source said at the time.
However, footage shows how dolphins have been trained to use underwater guns since Soviet times.
Russian army trainers work with the sea mammals so they can protect valuable navy assets (file images)
The specially trained anti-sabotage mammals had been deployed at the harbour entrance in Sevastopol (pictured)
The dolphins are trained for use against enemy divers intruding in harbours to plant limpet mines or for reconnaissance (file image)
Retired Captain Yury Plyachenko, a military trainer, explained: ‘The dolphin should have signalled, and if necessary it was ordered to destroy an underwater saboteur,
‘It was armed with an underwater gun.’
A Russian state TV broadcast said: ‘This is what the underwater gun looked like.
READ MORE: Russia ‘deployed military DOLPHINS to protect Black Sea naval base as Ukraine invasion began’
‘It was attached to a dolphin with a special fixture, and a mammal could shoot.’
Rare archive footage showed a dolphin attacking a diver .
‘The man had no chance in this battle,’ viewers were told.
‘It was next to impossible for a diver to get to ships and stay unnoticed if dolphins were patrolling them.’
The military dolphin training programme — long based in Sevastopol — dates back to Cold War era of the 1970s when the Soviet Union utilised the animals to search for mines or spy on foreign ships.
Russia has kept silent about the current role of its naval dolphins and how they have coped with repeated explosions from Ukrainian missiles as well as both aerial and sea drones in Sevastopol.
The dolphin deployment to Novoozerne – with Putin putting them in harm’s way – may indicate they are seen as militarily useful.
Putin’s forces appear increasingly worried about Ukraine targeting Crimea, and severing supply lines to the peninsula, as a prelude to recapturing the territory.
Or the dolphin move could suggest desperation from the Russians.
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