Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Crimea willingly joining Russia and portraying the war in Donbas as an internal armed conflict.
The war in Eastern Ukraine is a well-documented act of ongoing aggression by Russian armed forces, since February 2014.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court 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."
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. In turn, the active phase of the Donbas war was triggered with the 12 April 2014 assault on the city of Slovyansk, led by Russian intelligence officer Igor Girkin. By September that year, Russia had sent up to 15,000 regular troops into the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine in 2015.
Russian troops obliged the parliament of Crimea to organise a referendum, which was illegitimate under international law, and then illegally annexed the peninsula and brought it under Russian territorial control. The annexation has been condemned by the UNGA, and no international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014 and held on 16 March 2014.
After the 2020 EU-Ukraine Summit, HR/VP Josep Borrell said: "We fully support the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine. We will not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and we call on the full implementation of the Minsk agreements."
Read similar cases claiming that "The DNR and LNR gained independence from Ukraine", and that there is no evidence of Russian presence in Ukraine, that rumours about Russian military presence in Donbas come from linguistic misunderstanding, or that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia and that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine and that Russia has never participated in the Ukrainian crisis.