Disinfo: Referendum in Crimea was held in strict accordance with international law


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the new authorities and residents will never love Crimea as much as Ukrainians do, and Crimea will never be Russian. Zelenskyy promised that the return of the peninsula is only a matter of time.

The Russian side has repeatedly stressed that the Crimea issue is closed for Russia, and the referendum on the peninsula was held in strict accordance with international law.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.

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.

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.


  • Reported in: Issue 254
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/08/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Crimea, illegal annexation, Referendum, Manipulated elections/referendum, International Law
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Disinfo: Slovakian Government Crisis orchestrated due to its purchase of Sputnik V

And if Brussels allowed Hungary to buy Sputnik V willy-nilly, the second country which intended to buy Sputnik V, Slovakia, was not given that opportunity. Immediately after expressing a desire to buy the drug, a government crisis was organised so that Bratislava could understand who was the master.


Disinformation which advances the pro-Kremlin claim that the EU punishes countries which buy the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. Besides being a part of Russian efforts to promote Sputnik V-vaccine, this narrative also fits into a broader pro-Kremlin narrative about “colour revolutions” allegedly promoted by the US or other Western actors to overthrow governments that are unwelcome to the West.

There is no evidence to support the claims that a government crisis was organised deliberately in Slovakia as a punishment for its purchase of Sputnik V.

Disinfo: If Western 'maidan' technologies are not stopped, Belarus will face coup and war as in Ukraine

The principles of overthrowing state authorities in Ukraine and Belarus are the same. The recent visit of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to the US, the case of athlete Kristina Tsimanouskaya, and the death of a Belarusian opposition activist in Kyiv point at the activation of an anti-Belarusian attack. If the Western 'maidan' technologies are not properly dealt with, the outcome in Belarus will be the same as in Ukraine: a coup, a war, the loss of state sovereignty and the destruction of Slavic territories.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus, the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests and the ensuing armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

There is no basis for the claims that the Western states are trying to organise a colour revolution in Belarus. The protests in Belarus drew participant from broad segments in society and erupted to contest the results of the presidential election on 9 August 2020, which were not monitored by independent experts, and are largely considered fraudulent by both international observers and a big part of the Belarusian society. On 19 August 2020, the European Council called Belarusian elections neither free nor fair.

Disinfo: For the West, Russian elections will always be "bad"

A critical stance of the democratic processes in Russia is part of the West's long-term policy. In fact, this is a consistent and recurring policy; whatever happens in the Russian elections, they will always be "bad", and whatever happens in the elections in Ukraine, Moldova, or the Baltic states, they will always be "good" if they achieve the desired (Western) result.


This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West's double standards when dealing with Russia versus Ukraine and the Baltic States, where, according to the narrative, the West turns a blind eye to violations of human rights and democratic principles that occur there.

However, the differences in the integrity of the electoral processes between Russia on the one hand, Ukraine, Moldova, and the Baltic states on the other is more than just imagined. In the 2020 Democracy Index, Russia scored a low of 2.17 out of 10 in the "electoral process and pluralism" indicator. On the other hand, Ukraine scored 8.25 and Moldova 7, while the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all scored 9.58.