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 dolphins in the nation as well. Not just any dolphins. These highly trained military mammals 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 watercraft.
“The combat dolphin program in the Crimean city of Sevastopol will be preserved and redirected toward the interests of the Russian navy,” 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.
Tensions between Moscow and Kiev have escalated since Russia reclaimed the Crimea region after a referendum this month that overwhelmingly supported the annexation. The United States and its allies have pledged to isolate Russia for its actions. Ukraine also has combat sea lions that operate under the same base. It’s unclear whether they’ll be barking allegiances to Moscow or Kiev.
How bad can this get?