Russia ‘deployed military dolphins to defend Black Sea naval base as Ukraine invasion began’

The Russian military reportedly deployed highly trained ‘spy dolphins’ to secure its Black Sea naval base,  satellites imagery appears to show.

Images released by the US Naval Institute on Wednesday show dolphin pens were moved to the gates of Sevastopol Harbor in Crimea ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Dolphins are used by the Russian military for so-called ‘counter diver’ operations.

The canny mammals trained at the Crimean State Oceanarium can reportedly fight off invading divers, carry bombs and even plant mines.

Russia took control of the dolphin unit after annexing Crimea in 2014. Moscow claimed the animals ‘defected’ to Russia.

Fifty years ago, the Soviet Union began training military dolphins in Sevastopol.

The harbor is home to the Russian Black Sea fleet – and numerous valuable warships, including the flagship Moskva before it sank.

The photographs suggest Russia moved dolphins to the entrance at Sevastopol in late February, days before it launched its full-scale invasion on February 24.

The US Navy’s San Diego-based Marine Mammal Program was established in 1959 after bottlenose dolphins were found to be skilled at delivering messages and identifying naval threats.

Keeping military dolphins can be a tricky task. In 2013, two-thirds of Russia’s military dolphins swam off into the Black Sea – apparently in search of love.

An army source told MailOnline: „They deserted a naval exercise and went on maneuvers of an amorous kind. They swam away to look for mates.”

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