The Russians have already taken the peninsula and the air force bases, but now they may gone one step further and commandeered Ukraine’s killer dolphin army.
As you may have heard in the past, the Ukrainian navy has a group of around ten dolphins in Sevastopol that are on active military duty. The dolphins partake in “training exercises for counter-combat swimmer tasks in order to defend ships in port and on raids.” And how exactly do they defend ships? With the knives and pistols attached to their adorable dolphin heads, of course.
After last week’s referendum vote to secede from Ukraine, Russian troops began seizing Crimea’s naval bases. One of these bases houses the dolphin force. The killer dolphins are now being “preserved and directed” to the Russian navy, according to an employee of the Sevastopol dolphin training facility.
The Ukrainian navy was planning on shuttering the dolphin program in April of this year, citing a lack of funds. Now it looks Russia will not only take it over, but revive it. One of the engineers working at the Crimean dolphin facility had been working on new devices for the dolphins to wear, meant to “boost the operational efficiency of the dolphins underwater.” These new instruments “convert the detection of objects by the dolphins’ underwater sonar to a signal on an operator’s monitor.” This engineer is hopeful that the Russian navy will take these new instruments into consideration when expanding their own sea creature combat program, which also includes sea lions.
Last March, three of these dolphins allegedly escaped the military base in Sevastopol, apparently looking for love. Yury Plyachenko, a former Soviet naval anti-sabotage officer remarked that “there were repeatedly cases in the 1980s when control was lost over dolphins. If a male dolphin saw a female dolphin during the mating season, he would immediately set off after her and would no longer obey any commands. But in a week or so he’d be come back.” There is no word on if Russia has lost control of their newly acquired dolphin army, but we can only hope history will repeat itself.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.