Vladimir Putin has once again proven just how divorced from reality he is, reeling off a series of truly deluded remarks during a televised meeting of the Kremlin's human rights council.
Human rights council?
Yes, ironic really, given the amount they’ve violated this year.
OK, this should be good. What did he say?
Where to begin – trying to put a brave face on a war he is losing badly, the Russian president tried his very best to make it sound like the invasion of Ukraine was all going according to plan.
"Of course, it might be a lengthy process," he said.
Hang on, his original plan wasn’t "lengthy"
Indeed it wasn’t – the Kremlin truly believed its armed forces could seize all of Ukraine, topple the government and be welcomed with flowers and kisses in Kyiv in a matter of days.
Nearly 10 months later, this plan has been exposed as one of the greatest military and intelligence failures of modern times.
One thing Russia has been very good at is making up tragic excuses for its failures and insisting everything is totally fine. And so it was yesterday when Putin tried very hard to praise Moscow's territorial gains, highlighting the illegal annexing of Ukrainian territory as a "significant result" of the military campaign.
How are things going for Russia in these "annexed" territories?
Russian forces are getting an absolute beating and last month were forced to retreat from Kherson, the only regional capital they have managed to seize.
"The Azov Sea has become an internal sea to the Russian Federation, that's a serious thing," he also noted, failing to mention his original and failed goal of taking the entire country of Ukraine.
He was also referring to the four regions – Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – that Russia claims to have annexed but has never fully controlled.
Right. What else did he say?
Putin also accused the UN and other international organisations as well as Western media of being anti-Russia, saying that after he sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, they "had begun demonstrating their cynical bias".
"This meant that these structures were not able to fulfil their stated objectives," Putin said, “Due to their obvious bias, Russia was forced to give up membership to a number of these organisations.
"We see that the doctrine of human rights is used to destroy the sovereignty of states, to justify Western political, financial, economic and ideological domination."
Is he right?
If when he says "anti-Russia bias" he actually means "anti-imperialist and genocidal wars of aggression", then yes, he’s right. But he didn’t, and the only one trying to "destroy the sovereignty of states" is Russia, which is very openly attempting to do this through violence.
He also accused foreign media of spreading "despicable fakes" and "blatant lies" about Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine.
What does the media landscape look like in Russia at the moment?
After sending troops to Ukraine, Moscow adopted laws imposing sentences of up to 15 years in prison for spreading information about the military deemed to be false by the authorities.
Early in Putin's rule the Kremlin's human rights council included a number of critical voices, but all of them have been sidelined after an unprecedented crackdown.
Most high-profile Putin critics are either in prison or have left the country and observers say the new iteration of Putin's rights council firmly toes the Kremlin's line.
Anything else I should know about?
Putin also said that nuclear tensions were rising, though he insisted "we have not gone crazy", and Moscow would not be the first to deploy them in the Ukraine conflict.
Why are nuclear tensions rising?
Because Russia launched a crazy invasion of Ukraine and has often resorted to nuclear blackmail as it becomes clear it’s not going very well for them in the slightest.
What does Putin plan to do next?
Putin promised that there would not be a new wave of mobilisation, so expect one in the very near future.
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