Ukraine’s Combat Dolphins Are Now Russia’s Combat Dolphins

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 26 2014 6:45 PM

Ukraine’s Combat Dolphins Are Now Russia’s Combat Dolphins

179179583-russias-president-vladimir-putin-reaches-to-touch-a
Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a visit to an oceanarium near Vladivostok.

Photo by ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Usually after a break up in a relationship, you divvy up stuff—no matter how nasty the split. You don’t, traditionally, rent a U-Haul and take your things, and all of your ex’s stuff, with you to a new beau’s pad. But, that’s apparently not how breakups work in Russia—particularly the geo-political kind. They appear to be a tad more zero-sum.

How zero-sum are we talking? On Wednesday, the Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, reports that one of the perks of the whole annexation “deal” is that Russia doesn’t just get Crimea, it’s keeping Ukraine’s “combat dolphin program” that is based in the Crimean city of Sevastopol. The dolphins do not appear to have the right to self-determination, as RIA Novosti reports, “the dolphins themselves have now become Russian following the reunification of Crimea with Russia last week.”

Advertisement

Here’s more on what exactly the point of a squadron of combat Flippers is, via RIA Novosti:

The dolphins are trained to patrol open water and attack or attach buoys to items of military interest, such as mines on the sea floor or combat scuba divers trained to slip past enemy security perimeters, known as frogmen. Man-made sonar systems are often incapable of detecting such small objects in crowded environments such as harbors.

The combat dolphin program, started in the 1960s by the Soviet Union, was ceded to the Ukrainian navy after the independence. It was initially converted to serve civilian functions, such as working with disabled children, according to RIA Novosti, before being remilitarized in 2011. The program had been set to be disbanded again in April.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 20 2014 1:50 PM Why We Shouldn’t Be Too Sure About the Supposed Deal to Return the Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 21 2014 9:18 AM Oh, Boy Prudie counsels a letter writer whose sister dresses her 4-year-old son in pink tutus.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 10:10 AM Where Do I Start With Sleater-Kinney?
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 9:39 AM The International-Student Revolving Door Foreign students shouldn’t have to prove they’ll go home after graduating to get a visa.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.