Disinfo: Moscow did not violate international law when reunifying Crimea with Russia


Moscow has been repeatedly accused of violating international law during the reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia since 2014. Statements about "Russian aggression" and "annexation of Crimea'' are still being heard in Ukraine and in Western countries. The Ukrainian authorities continue to ignore the decisions of the referenda in Crimea.

Did Russia violate acts of international law, as well as, Russian-Ukrainian treaties when reunifying Crimea with it? Definitely not.

Russian troops were on the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol legally - under an agreement with the Ukrainian authorities. As for the legal framework, Russia had reason to worry about the safety of both its military personnel and its citizens.

Russia did not violate the Helsinki declaration either, as Russia’s accusers refer to in their arguments.

As for the statement of the UN General Assembly of 2014, which referred to the fact that Russia allegedly violated the UN Charter in the reunification process, which guarantees the territorial integrity of Ukraine, it should be noted that the UN Charter requires its members to refrain from the threat or use of force against territorial inviolability or the political independence of the state. And Russia, in 2014, did not carry out any aggression against the inviolability of Ukraine.


Several recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives are at play here; about the illegal annexation of Crimea, claiming that it voted to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum and that there was no aggression with the invasion of military forces from Russia.

Crimea is an internationally recognised part of Ukraine. Іn 1997, by signing the Friendship Agreement with Ukraine, Russia also recognised that Crimea belongs to Ukraine.

The so-called referendum that was organised hastily and at gunpoint following the covert invasion of “little green men” and barring impartial observers from entering the peninsula can hardly be called "reunification in strict accordance with all the norms of international law".

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.

Ukrainian authorities reported almost in real-time the identification and details of the Russian military forces invading Crimea.

Even 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 (and was proud of) that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

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 2020, 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 2021.

Check previous disinformation narratives in our database alleging that the EU has accepted Crimea's incorporation into Russia and that the Crimean people chose to be with Russia through the democratic procedure; or that annexing of Crimea didn’t really happen, it was a reunification; or that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine; or that it is impossible to recognize the annexation of Crimea because it never happened; or that Crimea’s reunification with Russia was legal; or that Crimea is a Russian sovereign region.


  • Reported in: Issue 235
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 13/03/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Crimea, International Law, UN
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Disinfo: West preparing large-scale smear campaign against Russian vaccine, including fake footage of mass patient deaths

The US and its allies are preparing a large-scale disinformation campaign targeting Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.

The campaign is a coordinated effort involving USAID, George Soros's Open Society Foundations, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the BBC, and the Reuters agency, and seeks to belittle Russia's achievements in the global fight against COVID-19. Among other things, the provocation will involve fake video footage of mass fatalities allegedly caused by Sputnik V.


The report advances recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative of being 'encircled', 'under attack' casting Western actors as inherently biased against Russia; Western media as subservient to their respective governments; and Russia as a constant target of foreign "provocations."

Made without evidence, the assertion can be dismissed.

Disinfo: The US provokes Ukraine into war with Russia

US President Joe Biden has called on Ukraine to solve the Donbas conflict as soon as possible. Recent developments in Donbas have shown that Biden’s words are leading to the preparation of a wide-scale Ukrainian offensive. Statements by Ukrainian politicians about a forthcoming Russian provocation and Ukraine’s forced response make things worse. Kyiv could not behave in such an impudent manner without the support of its allies, who pledge military assistance to Ukraine in the case of war with Russia. US and European “hawks” certainly profit from such a conflict.


This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin media outlets claiming that the West is interested in all-out war between Ukraine and Russia. In reality it is Russia who incites the Moscow-backed separatists in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas to violate the truce. By doing so, Russia impress upon Ukraine an endless conflict which drags resources and attention. Short tactic gains may also play in like trying to snatch as many concessions from Ukraine as possible ahead of the forthcoming online meeting of the Normandy format.

Ukraine is not preparing military provocations in Donbas. Kyiv has repeatedly stated that it is not interested in escalation and that it prefers a peaceful solution. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Minsk agreements are the only option to end the war in Donbas. At the same time, the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe registers almost daily violations of the truce in Donbas.

Disinfo: The West declared Russia as its strategic enemy

The West declared Russia and the Russian leadership as its strategic enemy a long time ago. And in order to defeat this enemy of yours, you need certain tools, including instruments of pressure. They act on the principle of claws, clamping on both sides at the same time: from the inside and from the outside, especially economically.

Internal pressure could have been observed on the example of the events in support of Navalny. And these events will continue until the elections to the State Duma, which are seen as a “window of destabilisation” of the situation in Russia.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the West waging war on Russia. The article also claims that Navalny is used for the political destabilisation of Russia. Both messages are disinformation.

The EU, its member states and most of the world community demand that Russia fulfils its obligations as a member of the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and other international organisations, as well as Russia's own legislation. These demands cannot be dismissed as 'intentions to destabilise Russia' as it is claimed in the disinformation message.