Disinfo: Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia in a democratic process

Summary

Crimea rejoined Russia after the referendum that took place in March 2014, when 96.77 percent of voters in the Crimean Republic and 95.6 percent of Sevastopol residents voted in favour of joining Russia. This was after the overthrow of the regime in Ukraine in February 2014. The Russian leadership has announced many times that the Crimean people have expressed their desire to join Russia again, during a democratic process that fully responds to the requirements of international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

Disproof

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

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on 16th of March 2014.

A year after the illegal annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has stated that “the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February 2014 when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government."

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 EU's policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol includes a set of restrictive measures against entities and individuals responsible for actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity. In March 2019 on the fifth anniversary of Crimea's annexation, the EU reiterated its position of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol. EU continues to stand in full solidarity with Ukraine, supporting its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 177
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 02/12/2019
  • Outlet language(s)
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Manipulated elections/referendum, Crimea, Referendum
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Disproof

This is a conspiracy theory without any evidence, Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the West exploiting the environmental agenda and climate change topic to do harm to Russia, and that global warming is a "hoax" perpetrated by special interest groups like green businesses that stand to benefit from the climate hysteria. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Russia has to carry a heavy burden associated with the implementation of the Paris Agreement, that the West believes that as a result of global warming, only Russia will benefit, that the West's anti-family strategy is part of the war for Big Russia resources and that the climate mafia is exploiting Greta Thunberg to lower living standards.

The West is using environmental issues as a noose against competitors

Environmental issues have long turned into a noose, used by the West to restrain the development of dangerous competitors by convincing them that the intensive economy is very bad. At the international level, the West is trying to impose onerous restrictions on other economies. Or they are trying to tarnish the reputation of certain economic products and to squeeze out a rapidly growing competitor from the market. This global environmental propaganda successfully shapes public opinion in the direction it needs.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy theory about the West allegedly exploiting the environmental agenda and climate change topic for self-serving reasons and using it as an imperialist tool against other countries. Climate change is a scientific fact. Humans are increasingly influencing the climate and the earth's temperature by burning fossil fuels, cutting down rain-forests and farming livestock. This adds enormous amounts of greenhouse gases to those naturally occurring in the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect and global warming. Preventing dangerous consequences of the climate change is the key priority for the EU. For further disinformation cases about climate change, see here.

The US promised the whole world that NATO will not move one inch to the East

30 years ago, US Secretary of State James Baker promised the whole world – if Mikhail Gorbachev agrees to unite Germany, NATO will not move one inch to the East.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West encircling Russia via NATO and NATO enlargement. This promise was never made, as Mikhail Gorbachev, then-president of the Soviet Union has himself confirmed. Central and Eastern European countries began seeking NATO membership in the early 1990s. NATO actively sought to create a cooperative environment that was conducive to enlargement while simultaneously building special relations with Russia. NATO does not "expand" in the imperialistic sense described by pro-Kremlin media. Rather, it considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the alliance on their own national will. As such, NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. NATO's "Open Door Policy" is based on Article 10 of the Alliance's founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty (1949). The Treaty states that NATO membership is open to any "European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area". Every sovereign nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements. This is a fundamental principle of European security and one to which Russia has also subscribed.