'We have taken the only sensible decision at the recommendation of scientists to release the animals to their natural habitat where they were caught,' Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Gordeyev told reporters. 'This operation will take about four months,' he added. Eight whales will reportedly be freed in the first stage of the process. Putin praised the decision during his annual televised phone-in in which he fields questions from members of the public.
'The killer whales alone are worth around 100 million dollars,' he said. 'When it's big money, problems are always hard to solve. Thank God things have started moving.'
11 orcas and 90 beluga whales were kept in am absolutely illegal “whale jail.' According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation, it is the largest number of marine animals to be held in such a way and prosecutors are said to be investigating.