Disinfo: Crimea voted for reunification with Russia in full compliance with international law


Relations between Russia and Western countries deteriorated in connection with the situation in Ukraine and around Crimea, which was reunited with Russia following a referendum. The West, accusing Russia of interfering, imposed sanctions against it, Moscow retaliated. Ukraine still considers Crimea to be Ukrainian but temporarily occupied territory. The Russian leadership has repeatedly stated that the inhabitants of Crimea democratically, in full compliance with international law and the UN Charter, voted for reunification with Russia.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.

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 Council on Foreign Relations lists one key legal reason for the illegitimacy of the Crimean referendum: Changes to the territory of Ukraine must be approved by a referendum of all Ukrainian people. The Cambridge International Law Journal states that there are a variety of reasons when secession might be legal: (1) if the people concerned are subject to decolonization; (2) if it is envisaged by the legislation of the parent state; (3) if a territory inhabited by a certain people is occupied or annexed after 1945; (4) the secessionist constitute a "people"; (5) the parent state flagrantly violate human rights; (6) no other effective remedies under national or international law may exist if any of the above-mentioned conditions are met. However, in the case of Ukraine and Crimea, none of these conditions were met.

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." Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before even the Maidan protests culminated. Thus, the previous claim by Putin and Russia that Russia did not control the "little Green Men" and later that they responded to human rights violations etc. proved to be false.

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. On 21 June 2021, the EU renewed sanctions for a further year until 23 June 2022.

See related disinformation claims alleging that Crimea has never been Ukraine; that Crimea rejoined Russia following a referendum; that Crimea "sailed" to Russia forever and the West agrees with it.

More about the myth "Crimea was always Russian " read here.


  • Reported in: Issue 257
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/08/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Crimea, illegal annexation, Referendum, Manipulated elections/referendum, International Law, West
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Disinfo: Poland is becoming a pariah state, which cannot count on the EU and the USA

It is likely that the situation with the “Nord Stream - 2” pushed the Polish MPs to adopt the law on foreign investments in domestic media – the main victim of this regulation will be the TVN channel owned by the American company Discovery. Poland is rapidly becoming a pariah state that cannot count on both the European Union and the United States.


A recurring disinformation narrative about Polish foreign policy – Poland is presented as a country that faces dramatic problems in relations with the European Union and the USA.

The claim that Poland is becoming a “pariah state” is a clear manipulation. Despite particular political disagreements with the EU and the USA, Poland does not face any international isolation. Poland continues to be one of the closest allies of the USA and an active member of the European Union.

Disinfo: Nicaragua's government prevented a coup backed by the EU and the US

The EU and the US imposed sanctions on eight top Nicaraguan officials. This reaction happens because the Nicaraguan government prevented a Bolivian-style coup planned for the general elections of 7 November and led by leaders who receive funding from the US and the EU. Sanctions are imposed on Nicaraguan authorities only for defending the rights of Nicaraguan citizens.


The unsubstantiated claim that the EU and the US were preparing a coup in Nicaragua is not backed by any evidence, and its only purpose is to deflect international criticism about the ongoing repressive campaign of the Nicaraguan government against the opposition. US and EU sanctions were imposed as a reaction to this massive crackdown, not for “defending the rights of Nicaraguans”.

Nicaraguan authorities keep arresting every new opposition candidate that announced his/her intention to contend the 7 November 2021 election and blocked the main opposition party from taking part, which by no means can still be considered free and fair, as the EU’s High Representative Josep Borrell made clear on 9 August 2021. The goal of this crackdown is to ensure President Daniel Ortega’s uncontested rule over the country, not to “prevent a coup”. The actions of the Nicaraguan government have been widely considered by international observers, including Amnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watch or the Committee to Protect Journalists as an authoritarian ploy to neutralise dissidence and consolidate president Ortega’s grip over the country, part of a years-long repression strategy against the opposition.

Disinfo: Western media suppresses all facts and opinions that differ from official narratives

Western media are controlled by a Ministry of Propaganda and suppress all facts and opinions that differ from official narratives. There are no honest media in the Western world. Western journalists are prostitutes (“presstitutes”) who tell stories that serve the interests of the establishment. Western peoples are trapped inside The Matrix.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about censorship and control of the media in the West. By claiming that there is no freedom of the press and no freedom of expression in the West, this narrative seeks to discredit Western mainstream media and more importantly: Western liberal democracies.

It is not true, as the article’s claims, that in the West a kind of “Ministry of Propaganda” censors news and opinion that is unwelcome to the establishment or differs from “official narratives”. This claim does not reflect the reality of Western media, where a wide range of political opinion is represented. Media in pluralist democracies are not controlled and censored by the state, as happens in authoritarian regimes.