Disinfo: Joining Russia saved Crimeans from bloodshed


Life has shown that Crimeans who voted at the 2014 referendum were right. Unlike in Ukraine, residential areas in Crimea are not shelled, journalists are not killed, Nazi marches are not held and people are not prohibited from speaking their language.


This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea.

No international body has recognised the so-called Crimea referendum, announced on 27 February 2014, and held on 16 March 2014. 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 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. In June 2021, the European Council decided to renew the sanctions introduced in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation until 23 June 2022.

The claim pretends that the rest of Ukraine is dominated by Nazi-ideology and prohibition of the Russian language. Both these tropes are classic pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives.

See related examples of disinformation claims here.


  • Reported in: Issue 266
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/11/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Crimea, Manipulated elections/referendum, War in Ukraine, illegal annexation
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Disinfo: Kyiv regime seeks to divert attention from its course of destroying the Minsk agreements

The Kyiv regime seeks to divert attention from its course of destroying Minsk agreements, whipping up "all kinds of horror stories" about the alleged Russian threat. The Ukrainian authorities and President Zelenskyy personally have taken a course to undermine the Minsk agreements and sabotage everything that they have pledged to fulfil. At the same time, they use the open connivance of their patrons in Berlin, Paris and Brussels. President of Ukraine Zelenskyy is not averse to provoking any incidents in Donbas with the expectation of assistance from the West.


This is a recurring disinformation narrative about Minsk agreements, claiming that Ukraine is destroying agreements, and its position is the only obstacle on the way to the peace process in Donbas. The article also presents Ukraine as a non-sovereign country, a puppet of the Western countries.

The main impediment to a peace settlement in Donbas is Russia’s and its proxies’ deliberate unwillingness to implement the Minsk agreements. These documents, signed by representatives of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ukraine, Russia and leaders of the illegal separatist entities (DNR and LNR), provide, among other things, for a comprehensive ceasefire and withdrawal of foreign troops from Ukraine. Kyiv announced a truce in July 2020, but the Moscow-backed separatists have been violating it virtually every day.

Disinfo: As a result of the Ukrainian coup, Crimea returned to Russia

There is great political tension prevailing in Ukrainian-Russian relations since the 2014 events in Kyiv, which resulted in a coup in Ukraine in a process that relied heavily on Western-backed nationalist forces.

Since then, the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine has witnessed a military and political crisis. These events have also resulted in great tension on the Crimean peninsula, which is inhabited in majority by Russians. In March 2014, a popular referendum was held that voted in favour of the region's return to Russia's bosom.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Euromaidan, the illegal annexation of Crimea, and the war in Ukraine.

There was no coup d'état in Ukraine. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by numerous parts of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim here.

Disinfo: US military exercises in the Black Sea are a provocation and an attempt to contain Russia

The US military exercises in the Black Sea are a provocation. These exercises are a blatant attempt to test Russia’s military reaction and raise tensions in the region. It is a part of the policy of containing Russia, causing very aggressive attitudes and destabilising the situation as a whole.


Recurring pro-kremlin disinformation narrative about military exercises and encircled Russia.

This disinformation message appeared in the context of a repeated increase of Russia's military buildup near Ukraine, much to the concern of Kyiv and its Western partners.