DISINFO: Kyiv's efforts to return Crimea are illegitimate and will be perceived as aggression
Russia has repeatedly stressed that Kyiv's efforts to return Crimea to Ukraine are illegitimate and will be perceived as aggression, while the participation of any countries in initiatives such as the Crimean Platform is viewed by Moscow as an unfriendly step and a direct encroachment on the territorial integrity of the state. The Crimea issue is "finally closed."
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.
On 19 February 1954, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR confirmed the need for Crimea to join Soviet Ukraine. Legally, the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine was completed on 26 April 1954, on the basis of the relevant law of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. According to international law, Crimea is a part of Ukraine.
After the collapse of the USSR, Russia reaffirmed respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. By signing the 1997 Friendship Treaty, Russia also recognised that Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine.
No international body recognises the so-called referendum in Crimea. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”, stating 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 Council on Foreign Relations lists one key legal reason for the illegitimacy of the Crimean referendum: Changes to the territory of Ukraine must be approved by a referendum of all Ukrainian people. The Cambridge International Law Journal states that there are a variety of reasons when secession might be legal: (1) if the people concerned are subject to decolonization; (2) if it is envisaged by the legislation of the parent state; (3) if a territory inhabited by a certain people is occupied or annexed after 1945; (4) the secessionist constitute a "people"; (5) the parent state flagrantly violate human rights; (6) no other effective remedies under national or international law may exist if any of the above-mentioned conditions are met. However, in the case of Ukraine and Crimea, none of these conditions were met.
Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, recognised on 17 April 2015 that "our soldiers were deployed in Crimea to help the inhabitants express their opinion." Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before even the Maidan protests culminated. Thus, the previous claim by Putin and Russia that Russia did not control the "little Green Men" and later that they responded to human rights violations etc. proved to be false.
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. On 21 June 2021, the EU renewed sanctions for a further year until 23 June 2022.
In October 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine created the Crimean Platform. Its aim is to keep the occupation of Crimea in the focus of constant international attention. The Crimean Platform will become a foreign policy instrument of the de-occupation strategy. This flexible international format is aimed at consolidating international efforts and achieving synergy of intergovernmental, parliamentary, and expert levels.
See related disinformation claims alleging that Crimea has never been Ukraine; that Crimea rejoined Russia following a referendum; that Crimea "sailed" to Russia forever and the West agrees with it.
More about the myth "Crimea was always Russian" read here.