Disinfo: Giving Ukraine special status is just an opportunity for NATO to expand eastwards


Giving Ukraine the status of a NATO partner with expanded capabilities is just an opportunity for the Alliance to expand eastwards.

This decision is no different from a deliberate promotion of this destructive course by the Ukrainian authorities. With ever new dividends the NATO states are in fact showing that they are not interested in the settlement of the inner-Ukrainian conflict. Otherwise it will be difficult to further intimidate citizens by the invented Russian threat and to militarily expand the Alliance’s eastern flank.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that the “Russian threat” is an invention spread by NATO in order to expand eastwards.

NATO does not "expand eastwards" as the pro-Kremlin media claim. Rather, the Alliance considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the alliance based on their own national will. 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".

Ukraine as a sovereign nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements. This is a fundamental principle of European security, one that Russia has also subscribed to and should respect. According to Article I of the Helsinki Final Act which established the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 1975, every country has the right "to belong, or not to belong, to international organisations, to be, or not to be, a party to bilateral or multilateral treaties including the right to be, or not to be, a party to treaties of alliance." All the OSCE member states, including Russia, have sworn to uphold those principles.

Moreover, the Russian threat in Ukraine is not invented.

In March 2014, Russia illegally annexed Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. Russian troops obliged the parliament of Crimea to organise a referendum, which was illegitimate under international law, and then formally annexed the peninsula and brought it under Russian territorial control. The annexation has been condemned by the UNGA (see the resolution A/RES/68/262 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine).

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.

Also, the war in eastern Ukraine is a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since 2014.

Since the illegal annexation of Crimea, NATO has been genuinely concerned about the security challenges posed by Russia to Transatlantic security.

This disinformation message appeared in the same article as the claim that Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements and continues the war in Donbas.


  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine, US
  • Keywords: security threat, Anti-Russian, Maria Zakharova, Russian expansionism, Ukrainian disintegration, NATO, The West


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Crimea returned to Russia after a referendum

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Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the annexation of Crimea, claiming that Crimea voted to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum.

Crimea is a part of Ukraine and was illegally annexed by Russia. In 2014, Russian troops obliged the parliament of Crimea to organise a referendum, which was illegitimate under international law, and then formally annexed the peninsula and brought it under Russian territorial control. The annexation has been condemned by the UNGA (see the resolution A/RES/68/262 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine).