April 1, 2024

Institute for the Study of War: Russian forces make confirmed gains near Avdiivka

Institute for the Study of War

A joint investigation by 60 Minutes, the Insider, and Der Spiegel strongly suggests that the Kremlin has waged a sustained kinetic campaign directly targeting US government personnel both in the United States and internationally for a decade, with the likely objective of physically incapacitating US government personnel. The investigation, which the outlets published on March 31, indicates that the infamous Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU) Unit 29155 (the same unit whose operatives attempted to assassinate Sergei Skripal with the Novichok nerve agent in the United Kingdom in 2018) may be using nonlethal directed energy or acoustic weapons to target a large number of US government personnel, each of whom has reported experiencing an “anomalous health incident” (also called “Havana Syndrome”) of varying severity between 2014 and as recently as 2023. The investigation cites intercepted Russian intelligence documents, travel logs, call metadata, and eyewitness testimony that places GRU Unit 29155 operatives at many of the locations where US officials experienced Havana Syndrome, either shortly before or during each attack. The investigation suggested that GRU operatives conducted a directed energy attack against an FBI agent in Florida a few months after the agent interviewed detained undercover GRU officer Vitaliy Kovalev at some point between June and December 2020. Other US government officials claimed they were attacked by the directed energy weapons while they were in the United States, including in Washington, DC. The joint investigation interviewed US Army Colonel Greg Edgreen, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)’s working group investigating Havana Syndrome, who believes that Russia is behind the Havana Syndrome incidents and that the incidents consistently have a “Russia nexus.” Edgreen stated that the incidents all targeted the top five to ten percent “performing DIA officers” and that the victims were either experts on Russia or had otherwise worked to defend US national security interests against Russia. The investigation noted that many affected personnel were assigned to roles aimed at countering Russia following the 2014 invasion of Ukraine after these personnel had previously worked on other portfolios. The investigation reported that these incidents have affected senior US personnel, including a senior official in the National Security Council who served at some point in 2020-2024 and CIA Director Bill Burns’ then-deputy chief of staff who experienced an anomalous health incident in September 2021 in Delhi. Several of the US officials who experienced Havana Syndrome have severe life-altering and career-ending injuries. Many US officials’ spouses and children also experienced Havana Syndrome while deployed overseas.

Key Takeaways:

  • A joint investigation by 60 Minutes, the Insider, and Der Spiegel strongly suggests that the Kremlin has waged a sustained kinetic campaign directly targeting US government personnel both in the United States and internationally for a decade, with the likely objective of physically incapacitating US government personnel.
  • The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) is intensifying efforts to falsely implicate Ukraine in the March 22 Crocus City Hall terrorist attack while denying any Islamic State (IS) responsibility or involvement in the attack.
  • Russian authorities are taking measures to further crack down against migrant communities in Russia following the Crocus City Hall attack.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Avdiivka and in the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast amid continued positional engagements along the entire line of contact on April 1.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) continues to reassure the Russian public that Russian military conscripts will not deploy to most of occupied Ukraine nor participate in combat operations in Ukraine amid the start of the spring semi-annual military conscription call-up that started on April 1.

For full report:  https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-1-2024 

Share the Post: