The large-scale armed aggression that Russia launched against Ukraine on 24 February 2022, instead of a victory parade in Kiev, turned out to be a series of shameful defeats for the "second army of the world". Having failed to achieve success on the battlefield, Russian propagandists and officials began to spread fakes in the information space, hyperbolising their achievements and downplaying losses.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, the Russian army destroyed more equipment than Ukraine has at all, even taking into account all partner supplies. And the greater the defeats suffered by the Russian Armed Forces, the larger the figures of the allegedly liquidated and destroyed equipment their command drew in their reports.
On February 24, in the morning the Russian army launched a so-called "special military operation" in Ukraine, and at lunchtime Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Yevgeny Konashenkov reported that the Ukrainian air defence system had been knocked out as a result of strikes with "high-precision weapons". His list of destroyed infrastructure included 11 airfields, 18 radar stations, three control points and a naval base.
On 6 March, on the 11th day of the full-scale war, the same Konashenkov stated unhesitatingly that "practically all combat-ready aviation of the Kiev regime has been destroyed". According to him, Russia shot down 93 Ukrainian aircraft in the air and bombed them on the ground during a week and a half of fighting, while before the war Ukraine had only 98 warplanes in service.
But the Russian official propagandist did not stop there and on 26 June reported the destruction of 215 Ukrainian planes. He did not say where Ukraine had discreetly taken 117 combat-ready aircraft.
Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones, judging by Konashenkov's data, were completely destroyed a month after the war began. On 25 March, he said the Russian military had shot down 35 of the 36 vehicles that Ukraine had. By the end of June, that figure had risen to 84 units, although together with the new deliveries, the Ukrainian fleet of Bayraktar TB2s totalled 62 such drones.
However, despite such statements by the Russian Defence Ministry, neither the Ukrainian aviation nor the ground-based air defence system stopped defending the Ukrainian sky for a day, shooting down Russian missiles, planes, helicopters and drones. Moreover, closer to the summer of 2022, the Russians themselves minimised the use of their aviation.
Up to and including 21 March, the Russian Ministry of Defence continued to insist in its daily reports that the Russian army had no losses. And they were not at all bothered by the gigabytes of photos and videos of broken Russian columns and mountains of corpses in Russian military uniforms that were instantly circulated on the Internet.
The phrase "there are no losses" performed by Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov quickly became a meme.
On 20 April 2022, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Yevgeny Konashenkov reported that the Russian Armed Forces had destroyed 140 aircraft, 496 unmanned aerial vehicles, 253 anti-aircraft missile systems, 256 MLRS installations, 2,388 tanks and other armoured vehicles, 1,029 artillery installations i 2,232 units of special military equipment of the AFU.
It is interesting that in most positions the Ukrainian army's losses allegedly exceeded its pre-war strength, while in others they almost caught up. For example, the Russians "destroyed" 140 aircraft out of 98, as well as 2,388 tanks and other armoured vehicles out of the 2,416 available before the war.
With what then Ukraine continued to fight and liberate the territory occupied by the Russians, Konashenkov decided not to explain. One can think about deliveries of Western arms, but at that time they amounted to about 700 units of light armoured vehicles, which Konashenkov successfully "destroyed" before the beginning of summer, and no aircraft were delivered at all.
On 10 January, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Yevgeny Konashenkov, who at that time had already received the epaulettes of lieutenant general, reported the destruction of 27 units of M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers.
This was despite the fact that at that time, according to the most optimistic data, the AFU had only 20 HIMARS in service, and all of them, according to US National Security Speaker John Kirby, were intact and working successfully as of 5 January.