Disinfo: Crimea is Russian again based on a popular vote 

Summary

Crimea returned to Russia in 2014, based on the results of the referendum in which the overwhelming majority of the region’s population expressed their support for this step, against the backdrop of the deep political crisis that led to the overthrow of the Ukrainian government headed by Viktor Yanukovych.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the annexation of Crimea, claiming that Crimea voted to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum.

The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013, called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan", were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last-minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiations, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure.

Crimea is a part of Ukraine and was illegally annexed by Russia. In 2014, Russian troops obliged the parliament of Crimea to organise a referendum, which was illegitimate under international law, and then formally annexed the peninsula and brought it under Russian territorial control. The annexation has been condemned by the UNGA (see the resolution A/RES/68/262 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine).

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014 and held on 16 March 2014. Following the covert invasion by “little green men,” the referendum in Crimea was conducted hastily and at gunpoint, barring impartial observers from entering the peninsula.

A year after the illegal annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

The European Union does not recognise Crimea's annexation and continues to condemn it as a violation of international law. EU sanctions continue to be in place against Russia as a consequence for the annexation. For the EU statement on the sixth anniversary of Crimea annexation see here.

Read similar cases claiming that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia in a democratic process, that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine, that Crimea’s reunification with Russia was legal, or that historically Crimea was a Russian land.

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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USS McCain, a naval destroyer of the United States Naval Forces attempted to reach Russian waters two kilometers off to the coast of Japan.

Disproof

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According to the US Naval Forces, in 1984, the USSR declared a system of straight baselines along its coasts that included a baseline enclosing Peter the Great Gulf as internal waters. Russia has continued making this claim, but the United States contends that it includes more water than the country is entitled to under international law.

Transcarpathia can join EU without Ukraine

The Western Ukrainian region Transcarpathia can one-sidedly decide to be part of the European Union based on a future rerun of the 1991 Transcarpathian general regional referendum which would mean that Ukraine would lose the territory.

Disproof

Fueling internal tensions within Ukrainian society is a recurring element of pro-Kremlin disinformation. The disinformation case above is aimed at undermining Ukraine's national identity by arguing that the country is losing territories both in the East and the West.

Transcarpathia, which is Ukraine's westernmost region, is heavily populated by ethnic Hungarians and has not made and cannot make any official or semi-official moves to apply for EU membership on its own.