27 March 2014

Ukraine 3/27: Russia Gets Custody; No Visitation for Ukraine

I wonder if the dolphins care which navy is bossing them around, though I can't help but chuckle at the possibility that they'd lead a Russian ship into a minefield.

Just when you thought this divorce couldn't get any messier.
Weeks after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region, it plans to take custody of the nation's dolphins as well.

Not just any dolphins. Highly-trained military flippers that detect risks such as sea mines or enemy scuba divers trying to slip through. Sea mines are sophisticated weapons that can sink ships and other water craft.

"The combat dolphin program in the Crimean city of Sevastopol will be preserved and redirected toward the interests of the Russian navy," state-run Ria Novosti reported Thursday.

Dolphins are a crucial part of open water security. They detect sounds and objects in murky waters that human beings can't, making them uniquely effective at highlighting dangers on the sea floor.

Ukraine was using outdated military equipment for the dolphin program and planned to disband it next month, according to Ria Novosti.

The Ukraine defense ministry told CNN that the nation has an ocean dolphin facility, but declined to provide details, saying it's classified.

The dolphin program dates to the 1960s when Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union, but was handed over to Kiev after independence, Ria Novosti said.

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