This Thursday, 12 February 2015, the 17 hours of negotiations among 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 ‘Trilateral contact group’? It is a euphemism that allows ‘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. Official authorization of ex-president Leonid Kuchma to represent Ukraine in the peace talks has no mention of ‘LNR’ and ‘DNR’, for instance.
Other 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, called ‘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 the document, there is MLRS ‘Tornado-S’ (Торнадо-С).
In fact, the first Minsk accords also mentioned ‘Tornado-S’, as well as ‘Tornado-G’ (upgrade of BM-21 Grad MLRS) in September 2014. accords’.
‘Tornado-S’ is the newest Russian multiple launch rocket system, upgrade of ‘Smerch’ MLRS, 300 mm rockets with satellite-assisted guidance. Tornado-S was just introduced to Russian military in 2012. No other country has this system besides Russia.
The other document that resulted after ‘Normandy 4’ talks in Minsk is ‘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.
Most recent news about ‘Tornado-S’ avoid mentioning this system being in use Russian army, and merely focus on ‘finalization of tests’ of this system. At the same time, Russian Minstry 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. Producer of Tornado systems, NPO ‘Splav’ started mass production of ‘Tornado-G’ in December 2014.
The only operator of ‘Tornado’ systems is Russia.
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