Disinfo: Crimea became part of Russia after a referendum in accordance with international law

Summary

Crimea will forever remain with Russia.

Crimea became part of Russia in March 2014 after a referendum in which the overwhelming majority of voters supported such a decision. Ukraine, the countries of the European Union and the United States refused to recognise the results of the vote, calling the reunification of the peninsula with mainland Russia an annexation.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum in Crimea. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”, stating that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. On 17 December 2018, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, recognised on 17 April 2015 that "our soldiers were deployed in Crimea to help the inhabitants express their opinion." Vladimir Putin admitted (proudly) that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before even the Maidan protests culminated. Thus, Putin contradicts earlier Russian statements suggesting that widespread attacks / human rights violations were taking place against the Russian-speaking population on Crimea and therefore they were in need of protection. No Russian Human Rights organisation had found any evidence of such attacks / violations.

The European Union does not recognise and continues to strongly condemn this violation of international law, which remains a challenge to the international security order. In response to the illegal annexation of Crimea, the EU has imposed restrictive measures against the Russian Federation. In June 2020, the European Council decided to renew the sanctions introduced in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation until 23 June 2021.

See related disinformation claims alleging that Crimea has never been Ukraine; that Crimea rejoined Russia following a referendum; that Crimea "sailed" to Russia forever and the West agrees with it.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 236
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/03/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Crimea, illegal annexation, Referendum, Manipulated elections/referendum, International Law
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The West needs cases like Navalny to fill its information wars

The main obsession of European leaders has been to get Russia to pay a price for the luxury of living its own style, without consulting anyone. It is clear that if the West invests millions in information wars, it needs concrete cases to cover, to try to pit the public opinion against Russia. According to this approach, the Navalny case fills all the requirements. This is not a struggle for democracy or human rights, but a global power struggle. And it is clear that the EU will never be its main beneficiary, since its role is being reduced to be a mere instrument of the US global policy.

Disproof

This is a mix of several recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the West waging information wars in order to destabilise Russia, about the case of Alexei Navalny as a fabrication, and about Europe as a vassal of the US.

All the claims are false. “Information war” is a term used by the Kremlin to justify its own disinformation efforts, applied to anything that challenges its disinformation narratives or for calling out Russia’s illicit behaviour in the international stage. By claiming that the Navalny case “fills the requirement of an information war against Russia” and that it has nothing to do with democracy or human rights but with a global power struggle, this narrative aims to deflect any Russian responsibility for Alexei Navalny’s poisoning, his incarceration on politically motivated charges and the repression of demonstrations in his support.

The West encouraged the creation of the Islamic State, who are its mercenaries

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Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West’s alleged support for terrorism in the Middle East.

The claim that the West created the Islamic State is false. In fact, both the US and most EU members, as well as Canada and Australia, have taken part in the counter-terrorism mission Operation Inherent Resolve, while the EU established its own set of actions to counter Daesh.

Joe Biden will use US allies as tools or useful idiots

The National Security Strategic Guidance released by the Biden Administration wants to attract the faithful to go against China and Russia, to attract vassals disguised as allies. Many rubbed their hands with the arrival of Biden, but at the end there will be only one winner, the US, while its allies will be used as useful idiots: they will be only subjects or tools. Once it defeats its enemies, the US will prevail over its friends and the looting will go to the strongest because benefits are not shared.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative against the US and its allies, aiming to sow mistrust among members of the Transatlantic alliance and among the US and its partners all over the world. This disinformation piece is a direct reaction to the release of the US Interim National Security Strategic Guidance on March 3, 2021, which strongly focuses on reinforcing these alliances, a core goal of the Biden Administration. Contrary to the claim, the US doesn’t rule over these other governments, which are sovereign nations with their own policies and interests.

See other examples in our database, such as claims that Ukraine is ruled by Poles and Americans, that France is a puppet of the US, that Germany and Japan are occupied by the US, that Europe is a colony of the United States or that Georgia is under Western control.