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.
Crimea returned to be a Russian federal province, after a referendum held on March 16, 2014, in Crimea and Sevastopol, and both regions have become within the Russian Federation, as of March 18, 2014.
Crimea was one of the Russian provinces up until the beginning of the fifties of the twentieth century when the authorities of the Union of Soviet Republics decided to transfer their subordination to the Republic of Ukraine.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea, claiming that Crimea voted to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum and painting the idea that Crimea has never belonged to Ukraine.
For historical reference, Crimea was annexed by Catherine II (the Great), then containing Ukraine in 1783, already in violation of a treaty that guaranteed the independence of the Tatar khanate.
The peninsula was reorganised as the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1921. After the war, Crimea was downgraded from an autonomous republic to an oblast (region) of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic.
In February 1954, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR confirmed the need for Crimea to join Soviet Ukraine. Legally, the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine ended on 26 April 1954, on the basis of the relevant law of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
After the collapse of the USSR, Russia reaffirmed respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, by signing the 1997 Friendship Treaty, Russia also recognised that Crimea belongs to Ukraine.
Regarding the so-called referendum announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on the 16th of March 2014, it was organised hastily and at gunpoint following the covert invasion of “little green men” and barring impartial observers from entering the peninsula can hardly be called "reunification in strict accordance with all the norms of international law.
Ukrainian authorities reported almost in real-time the identification and details of the Russian military forces invading Crimea.
Even 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." Putin admitted (and was proud of) that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.
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.
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.
Check previous disinformation narratives in our database alleging that the EU has accepted Crimea's incorporation into Russia and that the Crimean people chose to be with Russia through the democratic procedure; or that historically Crimea was a Russian land; or that Moscow did not violate international law when reunifying Crimea with Russia.