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Norway nets ‘trained Russian weapon’

Norway nets ‘trained Russian weapon’

A unusual encounter between fishermen and a mysteriously geared-up white beluga whale in the Barents Sea off the coast of Norway has raised suspicions the animal might be a trained recruit from a Russian military facility.

Jorgen Ree Wiig, a marine biologist at the directorate, told CNN: "The whale seemed playful but our instincts said that it was also asking for help to get out of the harness". The animal repeatedly nudged up against the boats, when one crew noticed the beluga was wearing a tight harness. Also raising a red flag - the fact that Russian Federation has a naval base in the area where the whale was found. The crews said that it rubbed itself against the sides of their vessels.

He said there have been no reports of programs or experiments involving beluga whales.

"We were going to put out nets when we saw a whale swimming between the boats", fisherman Joar Hesten told Norwegian broadcaster NRK, according to the Guardian.

Mr Wiig said "people in Norway's military have shown great interest" in the harness.




It wasn't clear why the strap was attached to the mammal or whether it was part of any Russian military activity in the region.

Although Russia does not have a history of using whales in its military, the Soviet Union had a military training program for dolphins. "We know that in Russian Federation they have had domestic whales in captivity and also that some of these have apparently been released".

"We have military dolphins for combat roles, we don't cover that up", he continued.

Way back in the '80s when Russian Federation was still under the Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, the military started training dolphins and other marine mammals to do their dirty work. The US navy also uses the mammals for mine detection and rescuing divers. In 2016, Russia's Ministry of Defense bought five bottlenose dolphins for $26,000. Since the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, the Kremlin has been behind a series of creepy reminders of the massive military apparatus lurking on Europe's eastern outskirts: mystery submarines, unidentified jets that nearly crashed with a passenger plane in at least one instance, and odd troop movements.

In the past three years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reopened three former Soviet military bases along the country's vast Arctic coastline.

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