Several recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, the war in Ukraine, and the ineffectiveness of sanctions against Russia.
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.
As for the claim that Russia does not participate in the conflict, there is irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has stated that “the information available suggests that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. The European Union stated in July 2014 that "arms and fighters continue flowing into Ukraine from the Russian Federation". According to the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Russian special forces and troops operated to mobilise, lead, equip and support separatist militias in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine from spring 2014 to the present, although their presence was denied by Moscow.
Last but not least, according to research into the effect of sanctions, the cumulative export loss to Russia during 2014-2018 is estimated at EUR 30 billion (about -0.2% of EU’s GDP in 2018). While these sanctions do effect EU's economy, the EU-wide impacts of the export losses are estimated at less than 0.2% of total value-added and employment.