An intelligence report newly declassified by the CIA sheds new light on a nearly 50-year-old UFO mystery, revealing details gathered from an experimental missile range in present-day Kazakhstan.
The report not only includes unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), but rumored Cold War “laser weapons.”
The UFO sighting took place in 1973 and was first revealed to the public in an “Intelligence Information Report” released by the CIA in 1978. Heavily redacted, the declassified version of the document contains only a single paragraph, detailing an encounter with a UFO at a location called “Site 7.”
The UFO encounter took place in the summer, when the sighting’s source “stepped outside for some air,” taking a break from watching a Canada vs. USSR sports match on TV. It was evening, and the source saw above “an unidentified sharp (bright) green circular object or mass in the sky.”
The UFO spotter believed the object was hovering above the cloud level, though it was a clear sky at the time of the sighting. The source was not, however, able to estimate the object’s diameter.
The sighting got weirder from there: “Within 10 to 15 seconds of observation, the green circle widened and within a brief period of time several green concentric circles formed around the mass. Within minutes the coloring disappeared. There was no sound, such as an explosion, associated with the phenomenon,” the document says.
But after a request for a Mandatory Declassification Review from researcher John Greenewald of The Black Vault—a site specializing in declassified government records—the CIA released a fuller picture of the sighting, which was recorded in the context of a detailed intelligence report into military activities at the Soviet Union’s Sary Shagan Weapons Testing Range.
Greenewald drew a direct line between Cold War-era sightings and similar UAP encounters documented by the U.S. Department of Defense, most famously the unidentified objects featured in three U.S. Navy videos released by the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science in 2017 and early 2018. Subsequently, a military official revealed to The Washington Post that UAPs intrude upon military airspace as often as several times per month.
“This is very much simliar to the context we see today, with threats on military facilities,” Greenewald told Newsweek in a telephone interview. “The U.S. Navy has gone on the record saying whatever this is, it’s a concern. They’re being encroached upon by this unidentified phenomena.”
The more fully declassified file released by the CIA details activities at the testing range, including rough maps of the facilities, the command hierarchy and personnel estimates, making it a fascinating Cold War-era intelligence even absent the dramatic UFO encounter. Weapons tested at the facility included experimental missiles and warheads with cartridges loaded with hundreds of metal balls.
More experimental weapons may also have been under development at the testing range. “According to hearsay, experiments involving laser weapons were conducted at an unknown location at the range. Supposedly the tests involved powerful antennas,” the report notes.
Site 7, where the UFO sighting took place, was the headquarters for the “warhead checkout unit” and a garrison of Soviet Air Force personnel.
While lesser known in U.S. research circles, the sighting is just one of numerous encounters with unidentified aerial phenomena surrounding Soviet military installations throught the Cold War era, similar to unexplained encroachments still recorded by the U.S. military today.
Newsweek has also reached out to the Central Intelligence Agency with a request for additional context surrounding the document, but did not hear back in time for publication.