Disinfo: Kerch confrontation was a planned provocation


The incident in the Kerch Strait was a planned provocation used by Petro Poroshenko to impose martial law in Ukraine in the run-up to the presidential elections.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Ukraine and Azov Sea. No evidence given that the confrontation was a planned provocation.

On 25 November 2018, border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen.  Russia argued that they were in Russian waters.

However, a bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004, governs the use of the Kerch strait and the Sea of Azov, which in the treaty are considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.

The construction of the Kerch Bridge took place without Ukraine's consent and constitutes a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.  It has led, in parallel with the militarisation of the Azov Sea, to tougher controls on naval traffic in the strait.  The European Union stated that it expects Russia to stop the inspections.

For further reporting see the BellingcatDFRLab and Polygraph.


  • Reported in: Issue 152
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/05/2019
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Azov sea, Kerch, Petro Poroshenko, Crimea


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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The EU Association Agreement with Ukraine triggered the coup d’état in Kyiv and the war in Ukraine

The EU Association Agreement with Ukraine triggered the coup d’état in Kyiv and the war in Ukraine.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the Euromaidan protests, the war in Ukraine and an alleged EU involvement in the events in Ukraine.

There was no coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014. The Euromaidan protests were a spontaneous reaction among large parts of the Ukrainian population, ignited by the decision of former President Yanukovych not to sign the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013.  The Maidan movement resonated with widespread discontent with corruption and mismanagement under Yanukovych’s rule.

US defence companies are restructuring missile defence base in Romania into an offensive base with “Tomahawk” missiles

Defensive position as attack ramp: Are “Tomahawk” missiles already in Romania?

US defence companies are working on expanding their missile defence base in Deveselu, Romania. This allows Washington to station nuclear-capable cruise missiles on European soil.

The start of this work coincides with the withdrawal of the United States from the INF Treaty.

Could it be that the Romanian “Aegis Ashore” is currently being prepared for other missions?  The modernisation work could serve to equip the defensive position in Romania as a launch pad for cruise missiles. In any case, this would correspond to the measures announced by the United States when it withdrew from the INF Treaty. This would mean that, for the first time since the Cold War, “Tomahawk” missiles with a range of 2,500 kilometres would be stationed in Europe.  […]

Equipped with cruise missiles capable of flying 2,500 km, the American “defensive position” in Romania would be a concrete threat to Russian cities.  Moscow must react, must take measures to strengthen national security as a reaction. […]

The Romanian leadership must, […] be aware that the redevelopment of the base in Deveselu makes this region a possible target for a nuclear first strike.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about missile defence systems and the INF Treaty.

The Aegis missile defence system (Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defence System) is not in violation of the INF Treaty. The US State Department issued a detailed rebuttal of Russian allegations of US non-compliance with the INF Treaty in 2018.