Russia emerges as main suspect in mystery of US diplomats’ illness in Cuba, according to officials
Russia has emerged as the main suspect behind a spate of mysterious illnesses to afflict American diplomats in Cuba and China, according to US officials.
They told NBC News that communications intercepts indicate Moscow was involved but that the evidence was not sufficiently conclusive to publicly blame the Kremlin.
The latest twist comes at a time of strained relations between the two countries. Although President Donald Trump has spoken warmly of Vladimir Putin, his Russian counterpart, his administration has expelled diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain and the US is concerned about attempts to meddle in November’s midterm elections.
Americans officials have struggled to work out who or what was behind the health problems first reported at the US embassy in Cuba two years ago.
Victims said they heard a high-pitched whine and later suffered headaches, nausea and dizziness among a range of symptoms that doctors said resembled traumatic brain trauma.
Heather Nauert, State Department spokeswoman, told Reuters on Tuesday: "We have made no determination on who or what is responsible for the health attacks."
At a glance | Cuba
The State Department said in June it brought a group of diplomats home from Guangzhou, China, over concern they were suffering from a mysterious malady resembling brain injury.
Cuban officials, who are conducting their own investigation, have denied involvement.
American armed forces have been trying to reverse-engineer the weapon or weapons used to harm the diplomats, including by testing various devices on animals, NBC said, citing Trump administration officials, congressional aides and others.
Part of the work is being done at the directed energy research program at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, where the military has giant lasers and laboratories to test high-power electromagnetic weapons, including microwaves, NBC said.
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