President Putin held a press conference at the Kremlin on Tuesday, during which he sought to project an image of a man in charge of a “special military operation” that is still very much going to plan.

As well as the usual pinning of the blame on NATO and Ukraine for the full-scale invasion he launched last year, Putin insisted the Kremlin’s goals had not changed.

“They are changing in accordance with the current situation but of course overall we are not changing anything.

“Our goals are fundamental for us.”

What are those goals?

Putin addressed this directly, asking rhetorically: “So, what is the point of our actions? 

“We wanted and still want to have the best possible relations with all of our neighbors after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is what we are doing.”

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After explaining how Russia was essentially forced to launch the full-scale invasion due to the evil intentions of NATO and the West, he added: “We have accepted that what happened, happened, and now we must live with it.”

What else did he say of note? 

A few things, but top of the list is his claim that Ukraine was suffering massive losses in its long-awaited counter-offensive, claiming that Kyiv's casualties are ten times higher than Moscow's.

“Their losses are approaching a level that could be described as catastrophic,” he said. “We have 10 times fewer losses than those of the armed forces of Ukraine.” 

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He also claimed that Ukraine has lost 160 tanks and more than 360 other armored vehicles in recent days.

In contrast he claimed, Russia had only lost 54 tanks.

What evidence did he provide?

None, and as yet there is no evidence from any other sources to back him up.

Russia’s own defense ministry on Tuesday bombastically announced it had captured several German Leopard tanks and US Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, releasing video footage it said was of Russian troops inspecting the western-supplied equipment.

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"Leopard tanks and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. These are our trophies. Equipment of the Ukrainian armed forces in the Zaporizhzhia region," the Russian defense ministry said in a statement.

But the handful of vehicles in the video come nowhere near confirming the total claimed by Putin.

Meanwhile, Reuters reporters in the recently liberated Ukrainian village of Neskuchne, saw “at least three dead Russian soldiers lying in the street, including one whose fly-blown body lay by an abandoned Russian military vehicle.”

While not indicative of its total losses, it does throw further doubt on the ratios claimed by Putin.

What was the craziest thing he said?

Of all Putin’s comments, those he made about Kyiv perhaps raised the most eyebrows.

“Our troops were near Kyiv. Should we return there or not? Why am I asking such a rhetorical question?" Putin mused.

“It is clear that you have no answer to it and only I can answer it,” he added.

These vague and rather cryptic remarks are surprising given Russia’s humiliating defeat when it tried to take Kyiv in the early days of the full-scale invasion.

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Such was the bluster and confidence of the Kremlin at the time, that some of the initial wave of Russia’s invasion troops were carrying their dress uniforms with them, convinced they would take the Ukrainian capital without a fight and be hosting a victory parade within days.

The Kremlin’s misplaced bravado was also exposed a few days into the invasion when Russian state media accidentally published pre-written articles declaring Russia’s victory and the capture of Kyiv.

Instead, Ukraine’s forces, mostly armed at the time with just assault rifles and anti-tank grenades, managed to fend off what was supposed to be the second greatest army in the world.

Since then, Russia has, for months, resorted to bombarding Kyiv with thousands of drones and missiles, first in an attempt over the winter to destroy critical infrastructure and freeze the population to death, and more recently, to try and destroy Ukraine’s now excellent air defenses.

Both have failed.

Did he say anything that sounded even slightly realistic?

He did actually, when commenting on the state of Russia’s armed forces.

“During the course of the special military operation, it became clear that many things were lacking," Putin said.

“High-precision ammunition, communications equipment, drones etc... We have them, but unfortunately, there is not enough.”

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As noted above, Putin never expected his “special operation” to take longer than a couple of weeks so his comments are not surprising given the fact we’re now well into month 16.

Russia is taking steps to address its weapons shortage, most notably its supplies of Iranian-made Shahed kamikaze drones.

The Kremlin plans to produce up to 150 Iranian kamikaze drones a month once it has set up its own production facility on Russian territory, a representative of Ukrainian military intelligence told Kyiv Post on Tuesday, June 13.

Andriy Yusov, Kyiv’s spokesman, said that Russia currently relies on the weapons being shipped from Iran via the Caspian Sea, but recently revealed plans that show Moscow has also received the materials needed to build its own factory.

“There are reports that the Russians want to set up a large-scale assembly of Iranian drones in their country,” he told Kyiv Post.

“They [Russians] are aiming to reach an output of 100 to 150 units per month.”

 Yusov also stressed that this number was a “benchmark they want to reach,” adding: “But it does not mean that they have such opportunities or will quickly reach them.”

Last week the White House said Russia is receiving materials from Iran to build a drone factory on its territory that “could be fully operational early next year.”

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