Russian military reporter Aleksandr ‘Sasha’ Kots showed off the Russian forces’ super-sized 2S4 “Tyulpan” (“Tulip”) 240mm self-propelled mortar specifically designed to destroy fortified positions, buildings, and infrastructure being used in Ukraine. Upon viewing the video, the Ukrainians managed to geolocate their positions and destroy the self-propelled mortar, leaving Kots to be an unlikely accomplice in the destruction of the Russian military equipment.

Kots, who works for Komsomolskaya Pravada, featured several clips of his report of the Tyulpan self-propelled mortars to be firing in the city of Severodonetsk.  Severodonetsk is one of the new areas that had been the focal point of the fighting since Russia shifted its focus to completely liberate the Donbas region from the “Nazis,” a claim that has been proven to be false by most of the world’s independent media.

According to Kots, the Tyulpan was wreaking havoc upon the Ukrainian forces, and it was being used by Russian-backed separatists in Donbas to destroy a bridge. The Tyulpan was reportedly repositioned from Mariupol after they had “captured” the city. Several open-source data collectors monitoring the Russo-Ukrainian war have confirmed the presence of the 2S4 Tyulpan in Mariupol. It was photographed firing a shell at several targets in Mariupol. It is rumored that the weapon is responsible for many civilian killings in the besieged city.

The bridge in question is the Pavlograd Bridge, which was destroyed because it was the main supply line from Severodonetsk across the Donets river, where Ukrainian forces are situated. If completely encircled, the Ukrainians may face another Mariupol situation, where their troops are isolated.

However, recent intel suggests that the Russian forces have abandoned their efforts to completely encircle Ukrainian forces in the east and instead prefer smaller encirclements. This may prove to be vital for the Russian forces to gain some ground in Ukraine. Fighting has been mostly focused in Popasna and surrounding areas, while incremental gains had been recorded for the Russians in the areas of Voronove to areas in Lysychansk. If proven that the Russians can fully encircle Ukrainian forces in Severodonetsk, the Ukrainians may be in for a bit of a fight to fend off Russian advances.

Kots reporting on the Russian 2S4 Tyulpan self-propelled mortar. Less than 24 hours later, the Ukrainian forces used his clips to locate the Russian positions and destroyed the Tyulpan (Michael A. Horowitz). Source:
Kots reporting on the Russian 2S4 Tyulpan self-propelled mortar. Less than 24 hours later, the Ukrainian forces used his clips to locate the Russian positions and destroyed the Tyulpan (Michael A. Horowitz/Twitter)

Less than 24 hours after the report aired, the Ukrainian forces destroyed it and released footage of the destruction on their social media accounts as their own propaganda material. The video shows the Ukrainians firing on a Russian-held building to draw out the Tyulpan. Once they had a clear shot at it, the Ukrainians blew it up to smithereens.

“Video story of the bright elimination of the 240-mm self-propelled mortar ‘Tulip.’ With his help, the occupiers, destroyed the bridge and destroyed the houses of Severodonetsk,” the Ukrainian NSU tweeted.

“Thank you to Russian propagandists for the tip,” they said, hinting that it was Kots’ report that helped them locate the Tyulpan.

This is reportedly the first combat loss of the Tyulpan, a weapon that has been in service since 1972. The largest mortar system in active service today, it is known to be one of the hardest-hitting mortar systems Russia has to offer. Mounted on an SA-4 Ganef 2K1 Krug air defense missile system modified chassis carrying an externally mounted M-240 240mm breech-loading mortar, the obvious weak link for the weapon is its weight and size, making it extremely difficult to maneuver at 30 tons.

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It reportedly utilizes an autoloader with two automated drum-type magazines that can hold 40 standard high-explosive rounds or 20 long-range rocket-assisted rounds. The Tyulpan is reported to have a powered elevation from +50 to +80º with a powered traverse of 10º left and right, with its primary ammunition to be the high-explosive 53-F-864 mortar projectile. However, it can fire a number of conventional high-explosive fragmentation bombs.

More so, it can reportedly fire the Smel’chak “Daredevil” laser-guided rounds, 3B11 nuclear shells, and 308 Nerpa rocket-assisted cargo shells that are known for their cluster bomblets, something Russia has used before in the Ukrainian war. Its secondary armament is an externally mounted 7.62mm PKT machine gun.

According to a report by Forbes, the Russian forces retained about 40 to 50 units of the Tyulpan after the Cold War, with 10 to 12 units being operational per military district. They were previously seen during the Ukrainian war in 2014, where it destroyed airports. It was also seen in Syria and Lebanon.

Currently, Kots, the pro-Russian journalist, is now known as the “Useful Idiot” in Ukraine for helping them locate the 2S4 Tyulpan.  He isn’t the only idiot as the Russian soldiers manning the weapon seem to have had no understanding of their own operational security in allowing it to be filmed while firing.  Ukraine has artillery radar systems that can trace an incoming round back to its point of origin.  As we have come to expect, the Russians do not have local air superiority even over their own forces and Ukraine seems to be able to operate drones over Russian positions at will to bring rocket and artillery fire down on them.