Relations between Moscow and the West have deteriorated due to the situation in Ukraine and around Crimea, which was reunited with Russia after a referendum on the peninsula. Moscow was accused of interfering and sanctions against it were imposed. Russia retaliated, embarking on a course of import substitution. Also, the authorities have repeatedly noted that it is counterproductive to talk with Moscow in the language of sanctions. Russia has repeatedly stressed that it does not participate in the conflict in Ukraine and is not a subject of the Minsk settlement agreements.
The conflict in southeast Ukraine began in April 2014 between the federal government and the self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, after the political crisis that resulted in the overthrow of the government of President Viktor Yanukovych.
A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, claiming that Russia is not part of the conflict in Donbas, that Russia has nothing to do with the war in eastern Ukraine and presenting the conflict as a “civil war” in Donbas.
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.
In 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine.
See similar disinformation cases alleging that Donbas rebelled because Russians in Ukraine were subjected to ethnocide, that after Euromaidan Ukraine lost its sovereignty and is falling apart, that the Euromaidan coup led to civil war in Donbas, or that Ukraine committed a crime by attacking its citizens in Donbas in 2014.