Russian forces controlling Ukraine’s Snake Island have been forced to flee on speed boats after the Ukrainian military launched a brutal offensive to take it back.
“Operational Command South confirms the Russian occupiers have left Snake Island. They couldn’t stand the weather, the ground was burning under their feet, the sea was boiling, the air was too hot. P.S. Russian warships go f*ck yourselves!” Ukraine’s Defense Ministry tweeted early Thursday.
The announcement came after Operational Command South reported that Russian troops had “hurriedly” evacuated from the island on two speed boats overnight. Footage of the island, a strategic outpost in the Black Sea, showed fire and black plumes of smoke after the Ukrainian offensive.
Russia’s Defense Ministry, naturally, tried to spin the retreat as a win. In a Thursday briefing, a spokesperson acknowledged the withdrawal but made no mention of the Ukrainian offensive, instead claiming Putin’s troops had fulfilled their mission and then, as a goodwill gesture, left so that Moscow could demonstrate to the world that Russia “is not interfering with the efforts of the UN to organize a humanitarian corridor for the export of agricultural products from the territory of Ukraine.”
The far-fetched claim appears to be part of a pattern of Russian defense officials taking the Russian public (and the world at large) for idiots since the very start of the full-scale Feb. 24 invasion.
According to an exhaustive investigation published Thursday by the investigative independent media outlet Project Media, Russia’s Defense Ministry has been fabricating its “wins” in Ukraine since the very beginning, repeatedly boasting about seizing control of the same cities and citing data pulled “from nowhere.”
Researchers with the media outlet studied all 196 briefings given by Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov since Feb. 24 and found “blatant and ridiculous inconsistencies in figures and geography,” the outlet said Thursday.
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Among the most glaring lies, Konashenkov repeatedly boasted of Russian forces seizing the same villages over and over, apparently counting on the Russian public not being able to remember the names of obscure Ukrainian locations, according to the report. One village, Kreminna, in the Luhansk region, was proclaimed as a victory for Russia on at least four different occasions throughout March and April.
The city of Lyman (also known as Krasny Lyman) was also said to have been taken over by Russian forces on March 2, but then, according to the report, subsequent briefings by the Russian Defense Ministry suggested Ukrainian troops and weapons depots had somehow “magically appeared” in the territory that was supposedly already under Russian control. Three months after first declaring that Russian forces controlled the city, Konashenkov repeated the claim again on May 28.
The same was done with at least 25 other villages and cities, the report notes.
The lying began even on the first day of the full-fledged war, according to Project, with Konashenkov reporting that Russian forces wiped out 74 Ukrainian military sites–even though the list of facilities he provided added up to only 37.
Researchers say they also discovered Russia’s claims about the amount of Ukrainian equipment destroyed was literally impossible, as the Defense Ministry said it had destroyed more equipment than Ukraine even possesses, even taking into account Western supplies.
Noting that the Defense Ministry sought to “create an illusion of success” from the start of the war, the investigation found that “Konashenkov’s reports became more fantastical with every day. As a result, when ‘Project’ summed up all the statements of the press secretary about the Ukrainian military’s losses, the result was, to put it mildly, strange.”