US State Department Lacks Answers for ‘Havana Syndrome’ Affecting Diplomats
10:41 GMT 06.08.2021 (Updated: 13:21 GMT 06.08.2022)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The US State Department cannot yet clarify the reasons for the so-called Havana syndrome, unexplained health incidents that happened to US diplomats, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter seen by NBC news.
The letter was sent to state department staff as the growing number of Havana syndrome cases raised concerns.
"Employees going abroad are anxious about whether they or their families are at risk. That's completely understandable, and I wish we had more answers for you. We'll continue to seek answers, do our utmost to protect our people, and make sure everyone gets the care and treatment they need", Blinken stated.
The senior diplomat is committed to meet staff and families affected by the syndrome. The investigation into the causes of the health incidents is underway, the state secretary added.
21 July 2021, 19:23 GMT
US diplomats were first diagnosed with Havana syndrome in Cuba in 2016 and 2017 and then in China in 2018. After allegedly experiencing strange loud piercing sounds diplomats experienced long-term health anxiety. Diplomats in Moscow, Tajikistan and African countries were also reported to have Havana syndrome symptoms, such as nausea and dizziness, with the last case spotted in Vienna. Several hundreds of American diplomats, military personnel and intelligence officers were affected by the syndrome.
The incidents were blamed on Russian "acoustic attacks," an allegation dismissed by Moscow as "total absurd." Late in July, CIA Director William Burns stated that Russia may be responsible for the mysterious incidents, but lacks sufficient proof to make final decisions.