Russia’s state-owned news service Sputnik News is claiming that “Russian Black Sea Fleet’s Special Forces have held their first training exercises with combat dolphins”, apparently contradicting an official statement that the dolphin unit doesn’t exist.
Interfax, the independent Russian news service, has reported a Russian navy official as saying that military training of dolphins had been “abolished after the collapse of the Soviet Union”. During the Soviet era marine animals were used by the Black Sea Fleet for combat purposes, but the practice had supposedly been abandoned following the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s with the animals sold to private businesses.
However, Sputnik are claiming that the programme has now been restarted following the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March. It quotes a source as saying:
“Training exercises were held with combat dolphins in the Sevastopol Oceanarium in the search of military equipment at a depth of over 60 meters. An object that looked like a mine was spotted by a dolphin and tagged with a buoy.”
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