The Guardian

Mystery of the missing whale: is it a Russian spy or child therapist?

Beluga with Russian harness found off Norwegian coast – but no one has publicly announced they’ve lost a whale
The beluga whale with a Russian military strap swimming off the north Norwegian coast. Photograph: Joergen Ree Wiig/AP

When Morten Vikeby saw reports that a “spy whale” from Russia had been found off the Norwegian coast, he immediately phoned his old fishery newspaper Fiskeribladet with a tip.

The amiable beluga reminded him not of a spy, he said, but of a “therapy whale” he’d seen a decade ago at a diving centre in northern Russia.

That whale, named Semyon, lived in a watery enclosure in

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