Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea claiming that it voted to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum.
The so-called Crimea referendum was organised hastily and at gunpoint following the covert invasion of Russia's “little green men” and barring impartial observers from entering the peninsula.
The referendum offered two choices: join Russia or return to Crimea’s 1992 constitution, which gave the peninsula significant autonomy. Those who favoured Crimea remaining part of Ukraine under the current constitution had no box to check.
Local authorities reported a turnout of 83%, with 96.7% voting to join Russia. The numbers seemed implausible, given that ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars accounted for almost 40% of the peninsula’s population.
Two months later, a leaked report from the Russian President’s Human Rights Council put turnout at only 30%, with about half of those voting to join Russia.
No international body recognises the so-called referendum in Crimea, not the UN, nor the EU.
Russian President Putin recognised on 17 April 2015 that “our soldiers were deployed in Crimea to help the inhabitants express their opinion”. Putin admitted (and was proud of) that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.
Seven years on from the violent, illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the European Union issued a statement maintaining that EU remains steadfast in its commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
Read similar cases claiming that Crimean people chose to be with Russia, that Crimea’s reunification with Russia was legal, that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine, that Crimea is a Russian sovereign region and that Crimea democratically joined Russia after the overthrow of Yanukovych.