New Report Reveals Russian Unit Behind Havana Syndrome

Kremlin officials dismissed a recent report claiming that Russian military intelligence may be responsible for “Havana syndrome,” the mysterious ailment that has afflicted US diplomats and intelligence officers worldwide since 2016, Reuters reported.

The Latvian-based investigative group Insider, which focuses on Russia, reported in late March that members of a GRU unit called 29155 could be placed at the scene of each of the reported incidents of Havana syndrome involving American personnel.

Insider’s year-long joint investigation with German magazine Der Spiegel and CBS News’s 60 Minutes also found that senior members of 29155 were promoted and awarded for their work in developing “non-lethal acoustic weapons.”

In an April 1 press briefing, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the report as nothing new, saying that the press had been exaggerating the “so-called ‘Havana Syndrome’” for “many years,” always linking it “to accusations against the Russian side.”

Peskov insisted that there has never been “any convincing evidence” published supporting the claims of Russian involvement, which he described as “nothing more than baseless, unfounded accusations by the media.”

The Pentagon confirmed on April 1 that during last year’s NATO summit in Vilnius, a Defense Department official experienced symptoms associated with the syndrome, which include nausea, migraines, dizziness, and memory lapses.

Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh referred questions about Russia’s possible role in Havana syndrome to the intelligence community which is still investigating the matter.

The 2024 Annual Threat Assessment, released last month by the Office of the Director for National Intelligence, said while the intelligence community was continuing to “closely examine” the incidents, it was “very unlikely a foreign adversary is responsible.”

The first health incidents were reported by embassy officials in Havana, Cuba in 2016. At the time, the intelligence community concluded that the syndrome was “probably” the “result of factors that did not involve a foreign adversary.”

According to Insider’s investigation, it is likely that there were incidents before those reported in Havana, including in 2014 when a US employee at the consulate in Frankfort, Germany was “knocked unconscious by something akin to a strong energy beam.”