Relations between Russia and Western countries, including the United States, have deteriorated as a consequence of the Ukrainian crisis and the Crimean Peninsula’s accession to Russia in March 2014, and sanctions against Russia. For its part, Moscow is seeking to confront this hostile Western approach and to restore normal relations with the West.
The European Union decided to take punitive steps against Russia as a result of the conflict in southeast Ukraine and Crimea rejoining with Russia.
Russia has repeatedly stressed that it is not a part of the Ukrainian conflict and that the return of Crimea to the strength of Russia is an outcome of an acute political crisis in Ukraine that resulted from the will that was expressed by the overwhelming majority of the peninsula’s population in a popular referendum, in full accordance with international law.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea.
Crimea is a part of Ukraine and was illegally annexed by Russia. In 2014, Russian troops obliged the parliament of Crimea to organise a referendum, which was illegitimate under international law, and then formally annexed the peninsula and brought it under Russian territorial control.
No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014 and held on 16 March 2014.
A year after the illegal “return”, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.
Sanctions were first introduced in June 2014 in response to the attempts to deliberately undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity and destabilise the country. Other EU measures in place in response to the crisis in Ukraine include economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy and individual restrictive measures.
For the EU's statement on the sixth anniversary of Crimea annexation see here.