Fisherman in Norway were stunned to discover a white whale wearing a harness daubed with the words "Equipment of St. Petersburg".
Norwegian marine experts believe it was no ordinary beluga whale, but a whale trained by the Russian navy as part of a programme to equip marine mammals in underwater military operations.
The apparently "tame" whale's strange behaviour around the boats, and the harness, reportedly led marine researchers to believe it had received military-grade training from the Russian navy, reports Norway's NRK .
Russia has in recent years made no no secret of its moves to bolsters its Arctic naval strength.
The fishermen described the whale, a suspected Russian recruit, as constantly seeking out their vessels.