A discovery made by Norwegian fisherman may have uncovered a new training program Russia has created for a new type of special operations soldier.

While working off the Norwegian coast, fishermen from the village of Inga crossed paths with a white beluga whale. The fishermen first noticed the whale while it was swimming between the boats as they cast out their nets. When the whale approached one of the boats, the fishermen noticed that the whale was wearing a strange harness.

"We were going to put out nets when we saw a whale swimming between the boats. It came over to us, and as it approached, we saw that it had some sort of harness on it," Joar Hesten, one of the fishermen, told Norwegian outlet NR.

The whale also began harassing the boats more and more, trying pull straps and ropes off the deck of any nearby fishing boat. The fishermen were eventually able to get the harness off, and noticed it seemed outfitted for an additional device, such as a camera or a gun. Upon closer inspection of the harness, they discovered “Equipment of St. Petersburg” printed on the inside.

Audun Rikardsen, a professor at the Arctic University of Norway, also told NRK that “We know that in Russia they have had domestic whales in captivity and also that some of these have apparently been released. Then they often seek out boats.”

He also revealed he had been in contact with Russian marine researchers who insist the whale was not theirs. Instead, they told Rikardsen that the whale may have belonged to the Russian Navy.

If true, it would mean that Russia has started its Soviet-era mammal training program that shut down in the 90s. The program entailed the Russian military training dolphins, whales, and seals to assist in deep-water operations and even base defense.

Based on appearances, it seems Russia is reinvesting in the program.

The last three years have seen President Vladimir Putin reopen three military bases along the Arctic coastline, not far from Norway. On top of this, Russia's TV Zvezda ran a report about the Russian Navy’s mammal program and public records revealed the purchase of five bottlenose dolphins by the Russian Defense Ministry for $25,000.

Beluga whale with calf More than 100 Beluga whales are trapped in ice in Russian waters. Photo: Reuters