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Russia has deployed military-trained dolphins to protect its Black Sea naval base in Crimea from underwater attack, new satellite images reveal.

The images, taken by the U.S. satellite company Maxar and analyzed by the nonprofit professional military association U.S. Naval Institute, show that two dolphin pens were placed at the entrance to Sevastopol harbor around the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. The harbor, which sits at the southern tip of Crimea, is a major port and of vital military importance to Russia. While many of the Russian ships anchored there are safely out of missile range from Ukraine, they could still be attacked underwater, giving trained bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) an important role to play in their defense.

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