Disinfo: Crimea re-united with Russia on the basis of the will of Crimea’s citizens


Crimea re-united with Russia on the basis of the will of Crimea’s citizens, who independently determined their future in a referendum held in March 2014,  in which over 90% of voters voted in favour of joining Russia.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the annexation of Crimea claiming that Crimean citizens chose to re-join Russia through a legal referendum.

The so-called referendum held on 16th of March 2014 has not been recognised by any international body.

On the date of its announcement, the 27th of February 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution 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.

A year later, even the Kremlin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

Five years after the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the EU issued a statement to confirm its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and reiterates that it does not recognise and continues to condemn this violation of international law.

For other cases about Crimea see here.


  • Reported in: Issue160
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/08/2019
  • Language/target audience: Bosnian, Italian, Montenegrin, Serbian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Manipulated elections/referendum, Referendum, Crimea


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.

see more

The referendum in Crimea took place as a result of a coup d’état in Ukraine in February 2014

The referendum in Crimea took place as a result of a coup d’état in Ukraine in February 2014.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that Euromaidan was a coup d’état.

Maidan or Euromaidan, the demonstrations which began in November 2013 in Kyiv and finished in February 2014, was not provoked from outside but was a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. More cases on this topic here.

NATO’s “Sea Breeze 2019” was a total failure thanks to Russia

The “Sea Breeze 2019” military drill failed because Russia was the winning party. Russia forced Ukraine and NATO to retreat to the Black Sea, as exercises had to be changed after Russia announced the start of their own training exercise near the Crimea. Therefore, Russia expelled the Ukrainian and NATO forces.



This is a misrepresentation of events designed to portray Russia as the superior might over NATO and part of a recurring disinformation campaign undermining NATO exercises. Exercise Sea Breeze, now in its 19th iteration, took place in the Black Sea between 1st-12th July 2019 with participation and support coming from 17 other countries to include: Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Whilst it is true that the military drills were rescheduled after the sudden closure of certain areas of the Black Sea by the Russian military as noted by Rear-Admiral Alexei Neizhpapa, Head of the exercise for Ukraine, this did not affect the execution of tasks. At no time were the exercises concluded as a complete failure. At the closing ceremony, U.S. Navy Capt. Matthew Lehman, commodore, Task Force 65 and U.S. exercise director for SB19, said that he was "proud of the work and training during the exercise, but countries must remain focused because work continues and that "I am encouraged by reports that the at-sea portion of the exercise has gone well thus far, and I am confident this will continue with the next at-sea period next week".

London has no evidence of Moscow’s complicity in Skripals’ poisoning

British police have acknowledged that they have no evidence to suggest that the Russian authorities were complicit in the attack on the Skripals.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury claiming that the UK has never proved Russia’s involvement and has not provided any evidence.

As clearly stated by Ambassador Karen Pierce, UK Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Security Council on the 5th of September 2018, UK police and UK intelligence services have produced sufficient hard forensic evidence to charge two Russian nationals, identified as officers of the Russian Military Intelligence, GRU, for the attack against the Skripals. The investigative outlet Bellingcat later revealed the identities of the two Russian nationals.