DISINFO: Crimea rejoined Russia as a result of a popular referendum
Crimea became a Russian territory following the March 2014 referendum, in which a majority of the peninsula's inhabitants voted in favour of rejoining Russia.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea.
No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014 and held less than three weeks later at gunpoint with the presence of Russian soliders occupying the peninsula. On 27 March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it stated 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.
The oft-cited figure of 97% has been contested by the Kremlin’s own Human Rights Council, which estimated that only between 30% and 50% of Crimeans took part in the referendum, of which some 50-60% favoured secession.
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 2021, 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 2022.