Satellite photos show that Crimea lost a naval defense line in a storm that battered the annexed Black Sea peninsula, Newsweek has reported.
According to Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) analyst MT Anderson, who shared the satellite images of a harbor entrance in the port city of Sevastopol, the pens that held Russia’s specially trained dolphins deployed to protect its Black Sea Fleet and Crimea are “likely gone.”
0.5M📸 from 28 Nov 2023. Still cloudy so only a view of the harbor entrance & the Frigate Pier.
-Dolphin pens are likely gone and the defenses are there but are they still functional?
-Admiral Makarov rode out the storm or she arrived shortly after pic.twitter.com/PwHt9vlsGr
— MT Anderson (@MT_Anderson) November 28, 2023
In June 2023, UK intelligence said Russia doubled its floating mammal pens, which included trained dolphins used to detect Ukrainian elite special forces divers and bolster Crimea’s Sevastopol naval base security.
Another OSINT and naval analyst H. I. Sutton also assessed that based on preliminary analysis, “the dolphin pens in Sevastopol harbor are gone as a result.”
“They may have been sunk or washed away. It is plausible that some or all of the trained dolphins have been freed,” Sutton said.
Russia has been actively fortifying Crimea, fearing that Ukraine could reclaim the territory annexed in 2014.
As Ukraine often uses explosive sea drones (surface uncrewed vehicles) against Russian naval targets, Russia has heavily fortified the approaches to Sevastopol Harbor, hosting its main base of the Black Sea Fleet.