WATCH: Vladimir Putin unveils Russia’s newest elite fighters… gun-waving killer SEALS
The heavily-trained duo, who wear military hats, were included as part of Russia’s massive Victory Day parade yesterday.
In scenes somewhere between terrifying and hilarious, the Baikal seals – called ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and ‘Laska’ – salute, hold toy guns in their flippers, shoot at targets, carry knives in their mouths and sing military songs.
While there is seemingly still some way to go before they are used in any conflict, their trainers say they are probably even cleverer than dolphins, which have previously worked with President Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Evgeniy Baranov, founder of the world’s first seal circus, told the Siberian Times: “The new show is a logical development of the tricks that our seals learned earlier. With every rehearsal they get better and better.
“I have been working with Baikal seals for more than 25 years. For some time I worked in a laboratory, almost 24/7. There were seals living there, and I looked after them, observing their traits.
“I started training and handling them. It wasn’t too long before I realised that seals are no worse than dolphins. Maybe they are even smarter.
“Seals can solve logical, technical puzzles.”
The seals are native to the freezing cold Lake Baikal in Siberia. Their training water has to be cooled to minus three degrees.
Maybe Winnie and Laksha are not yet fully Russian patriots though, as Mr Baranov revealed the most difficult part of training was to get the seals to wear their military hats.