Russia Even Hijacks Ukraine's Navy Dolphins

In this Aug. 19, 1995 file photo, a trainer works with a dolphin which used to belong to a top-secret division of the Soviet Navy in the military port of Sevastopol, Ukraine. STR New/Reuters

MOSCOW - First Russia seized Ukraine's Navy ships in Crimean harbors. Now it is taking over Crimea's battle dolphins.

After Russia's annexation of Crimea, the military dolphin program, based in the city of Sevastopol, which is also home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet, will now be directed towards the Russian Navy, Russia's state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing an unnamed source at the training facility.

The dolphins were reportedly being trained by Ukraine's navy for a variety of tasks, including patrolling open waters with detection devices, defending against mines and enemy divers, and even attack missions.

The program started in the 1960s, when both Ukraine and Russia were part of the Soviet Union, and was restarted a few years ago. It is also reportedly includes the training of sea lions. However, the program was due to be shut down in April, according to RIA Novosti.

"The Ukrainian Navy lacked the funds for such know-how, and some projects had to be shuttered," the source told RIA Novosti.

The only other known military training program for dolphins is run by the U.S. Navy in San Diego.