DISINFO: Kyiv cannot apply for NATO membership until it ends Ukrainian civil war
  • Outlet: sputniknews.com (archived)*
  • Date of publication: November 15, 2021
  • Article language(s): English
  • Reported in: Issue 267
  • Countries / regions discussed: Ukraine, Russia
NATO Coup Civil war Donbas War in Ukraine Eastern Ukraine illegal annexation Crimea Euromaidan

DISINFO: Kyiv cannot apply for NATO membership until it ends Ukrainian civil war


Under NATO rules, applicants must resolve any ethnic disputes, external territorial disputes, irredentist claims or internal jurisdictional disputes in accordance with Organisation for Security Cooperation in Europe principles before they can join.

Under these rules, Ukraine cannot become a member of the Alliance until it ends the civil war in the country’s east, stops any threats against its Russian-speaking population, and resolve the conflict with Russia over Crimea – the Black Sea Peninsula which split off from Kiev’s control and rejoined Russia in March 2014 in the aftermath of a US- and EU-backed coup in Kiev.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative falsely painting the conflict in Eastern Ukraine as a "civil war"; alleging discrimination of Russian speakers in Ukraine; presenting the 2013-14 Euromaidan revolution as a Western-backed "coup"; and alleging that the Russia-annexed Crimea seceded from Ukraine as a result of a "referendum."

There was no coup d’état in Kyiv in 2014; this is a longstanding pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine's Euromaidan. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was a reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former president Viktor Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014 and held less than three weeks later at gunpoint with the presence of Russian soldiers occupying the peninsula. 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.

As for Russia's ‘role within the war in Ukraine, the European Union stated in July 2014 that "arms and fighters continue flowing into Ukraine from the Russian Federation". At the NATO Summit in Wales in September 2014, NATO leaders condemned in the strongest terms Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and demanded Russia to stop and withdraw its forces from Ukraine and from the country’s border. NATO leaders also demanded Russia comply with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities; refrain from aggressive actions against Ukraine; halt the flow of weapons, equipment, people and money across the border to the separatists; and stop fomenting tension along and across the Ukrainian border.

Lastly, see here for our debunking of the claim that Ukraine oppresses its own Russian-speaking citizens.

NATOs open door policy is described by NATO itself here.


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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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