Ukraine demands Russia return its combat dolphins

The dolphins were not given the choice of "defecting" to Russia.

By Aileen Graef

KIEV, Ukraine, July 7 (UPI) -- Ukraine is demanding that Russia return the combat dolphins seized during the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

Ukrainian authorities said they have an aquarium where the dolphins, which are currently being held at an aquarium in Sevastopol, can live for the summer until the new military can find a home for them.


The dolphins were annexed with the Crimean region and its valuable warm water ports.

Russia is not willing to return the elite sea mammal unit. The country wants to train the finned soldiers to search for sunken military equipment and detect enemy divers, a program that is beyond Ukraine's financial capabilities.

"Engineers are developing new aquarium technologies for new programmes to more efficiently use dolphins under water," a military source told RIA Novosti. "Our specialists developed new devices that convert dolphins' underwater sonar detection of targets into a signal to the operator's monitor. The Ukrainian navy lacked funds for such know-how, and some projects had to be mothballed."

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