‘Havana Syndrome’ linked to Russian intelligence: report

The U.S. embassy in Havana in Cuba where the syndrome was first reported in 2016. File.
| Photo Credit: AP

The mysterious so-called Havana Syndrome symptoms experienced by U.S. diplomats in recent years have been linked to a Russian intelligence unit, according to a joint media investigation released on April 1.

Havana Syndrome was first reported in 2016 when U.S. diplomats in Cuba’s capital reported falling ill and hearing piercing sounds at night, sparking speculation of an attack by a foreign entity using an unspecified sonar weapon. Other symptoms including bloody noses, headaches and vision problems were later reported by embassy staff in China and Europe.

A joint report by The InsiderDer Spiegel and CBS’s 60 Minutes suggests that the the diplomats may have been targeted by Russian sonic weaponry. The year-long investigation “uncovered evidence suggesting that unexplained anomalous health incidents, also known as Havana Syndrome, may have their origin in the use of directed energy weapons wielded by members of (the Russian GRU) Unit 29155,” the report said.

Russia’s 29155 unit is responsible for foreign operations and has been blamed for several international incidents, including the attempted poisoning of defector Sergei Skripal in Britain in 2018.

Also Read | Watch | What is Havana syndrome?

Moscow dismissed the allegations as “groundless” on Monday.

“This topic has been talked up in the press for many years already… But nobody has ever published any convincing evidence, so all this is nothing more than a groundless and unfounded accusation”, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told a news conference.

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