Putin mentions Tornado MRLS in agreements, admits Russia is present in Ukraine

 

Politics

Article by: Andriy Horbal

This Thursday, 12 February 2015, 17 hours of negotiations between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France resulted in two documents.

One is called “Complex of measures for implementations of Minsk accords,” it was signed by the members of Trilateral contact group – which is supposed to represent Ukraine, Russia, and OSCE – but also includes the leaders of puppet “DNR” and “LNR.”

What is the Trilateral contact group? It is a euphemism that allows the “leaders” of Russian terrorist organizations “DNR” and “LNR'”to be included in negotiations with Ukraine. “DNR” and “LNR” officially claim responsibility for the war with Ukraine, working as cover for the full scale Russian military invasion. Ukraine officially does not have any top-level contacts with “DNR” and “LNR” and does recognize them as terrorist organizations. For instance, official authorization of ex-president Leonid Kuchma to represent Ukraine in the peace talks has no mention of “LNR” and “DNR.”

Participants of the Trilateral contact group are:

  • Swiss diplomat and OSCE representative Heidi Tagliavini;
  • Former president of Ukraine and Ukrainian representative Leonid Kuchma;
  • Russian Ambassador to Ukraine and Russian representative Mikhail Zurabov;
  • DNR and LNR ‘leaders’ Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky.

So, these five people signed the 13-points agreement titled “Complex of measures for implementations of Minsk accords.” The key and most immediate provisions are the ceasefire and heavy arms withdrawal. Among the artillery systems mentioned in this document, there is the MLRS Tornado-S (in Russian – Торнадо-С).

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Complex of measures for implementations of Minsk accords

In fact, the first Minsk accords also mentioned Tornado-S, as well as Tornado-G (upgrade of BM-21 Grad MLRS) in September 2014.

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Memorandum to implement the Protocol for the Peace plan of President Poroshenko and initiatives of Vladimir Putin. 19 September 2014

Tornado-S is the newest Russian multiple launch rocket system, an upgrade of Smerch MLRS, 300 mm rockets with satellite-assisted guidance. Tornado-S was just introduced to the Russian military in 2012. No other country has this system besides Russia.

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Another document that resulted after the Normandy 4 talks in Minsk is the “Declaration of President of Russian Federation, President of Ukraine, President of the French Republic, and Chancellor of the Federative Republic of Germany in support of the Complex of measures for implementations of Minsk accords, adopted on 12 February 2015.

This is a joint statement, in which four leaders, including Putin, support the 13-points document signed by the Trilateral contact group.

So, two top Russian officials, President Putin and Russia’s Ambassador to Ukraine Zurabov admitted the use of one of the most sophisticated and modern Russian heavy arms in the war against Ukraine.

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The most recent news about Tornado-S avoid mentioning this system being used in the Russian army, and merely focus on ‘finalization of tests’ of this system. At the same time, Russia’s Ministry of Defense had “renewed” the purchase of Tornado-G and Tornado-S back in 2013.

While it is not clear how many Tornado-S systems there are in Russian army, but the first Tornado-G systems were delivered to troops back in December 2011. The producer of Tornado systems, NPO Splav started mass production of Tornado-G in December 2014.

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The only operator of Tornado systems is Russia.

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