The referendum in Crimea on “returning to the Russian Federation” was actually held when Ukraine did not exist as a state from a legal point of view. During 20 Feb 2014 – 25 May 2014, Ukraine “de iure” did not exist due to the coup d’etat. In order to recognise the referendum results, the West would have to recognise the coup d’etat in Kiev.
Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Ukrainian statehood.
The 2014 presidential election in Ukraine was a genuine election largely in line with international commitments and respecting fundamental freedoms, despite the hostile security environment in two eastern regions of the country. According to the OSCE (of which Russia is a participating State) "the people of Ukraine had the opportunity to genuinely express their will at the ballot box".
The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 – called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan" – were not provoked from outside but were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure. The protesters' demands included constitutional reform, a stronger role for parliament, formation of a government of national unity, an end to corruption, early presidential elections and an end to violence.
The United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. 68/262, adopted on 27 March 2014 and supported by 100 states (only 10 states opposed it), clearly says that Russia's actions in the peninsula as well as the referendum held in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea violate international law.