Vladimir Putin’s bizarre ceremonies formalising Russia’s annexation of some 15 per cent of Ukraine once again revealed the yawning chasm between Kremlin triumphalism and reality.
Never mind Russian forces didn’t even fully control the territories Putin brought under the Russian flag.
Never mind Russia’s “referendums” were a blatant fabrication – with voting often held at gunpoint.
Never mind that by now more people have fled Russia than the 300,000 extra troops to be “partially mobilised” in support of Putin’s flagging war effort.
And never mind that Russian forces are retreating in many of their newly acquired lands, with the key city of Lyman liberated by Ukraine less than 24 hours after its annexation was announced.
Putin’s vitriolic rantings to a decidedly subdued audience provided plenty of distasteful soundbites.
Eventually it will become patently obvious that the one man who isn’t permitted to be criticised – Vladimir Putin – is in charge of the mess.