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Ukrainian dolphin soldiers would rather die than live under Russian occupation

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Ukraine’s dolphin army is so loyal, it went on a hunger strike when it was captured by Russian forces.

At least that’s what Ukraine says.

Let’s back up for a moment: Ukraine had a secret program that trains sea mammals to carry out military tasks, like locating torpedoes, and to act as therapy pets. It’s a lot like Sea World, but way less fun for enemies of the state.

Ukrainian Navy

This dolphin army was held at the USSR-founded Research Center of the Ukrainian Army State Oceanarium until 2014, when the Russian annexation of Crimea led to the dolphins’ capture.

Ukraine demanded their return, but Russia refused to turn the dolphin army over. Rumors circulated that the Russians wanted to keep the dolphins and retrain them as soldiers (under Ukraine’s leadership, the dolphins were not trained to kill). A source even told the Russian agency RIA Novosti that engineers were “developing new aquarium technologies for new programs to more efficiently use dolphins underwater,” the Guardian reported.

Ukraine’s dolphin army is so loyal, it went on a hunger strike when it was captured by Russian forces.

At least that’s what Ukraine says.

Let’s back up for a moment: Ukraine had a secret program that trains sea mammals to carry out military tasks, like locating torpedoes, and to act as therapy pets. It’s a lot like Sea World, but way less fun for enemies of the state.

Ukrainian Navy

This dolphin army was held at the USSR-founded Research Center of the Ukrainian Army State Oceanarium until 2014, when the Russian annexation of Crimea led to the dolphins’ capture.

Ukraine demanded their return, but Russia refused to turn the dolphin army over. Rumors circulated that the Russians wanted to keep the dolphins and retrain them as soldiers (under Ukraine’s leadership, the dolphins were not trained to kill). A source even told the Russian agency RIA Novosti that engineers were “developing new aquarium technologies for new programs to more efficiently use dolphins underwater,” the Guardian reported.

Ukrainian Navy

But in the four years since their capture, most of the dolphins have died. The Ukrainian government’s representative in Crimea, Boris Babin, said on Monday that these were no ordinary deaths: The dolphin army refused to work for Russian soldiers and went on a hunger strike.

“The dolphins, trained by the naval forces in Sevastopol, would communicate with their trainers through

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https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/ywedjv/ukrainian-dolphin-soldiers-would-rather-die-than-live-under-russian-occupation

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