Disinfo: The Crimean issue is finally closed

Summary

Crimea became a Russian region after a referendum was held there in March 2014. In it, 96.77% of Crimean voters and 95.6% of Sevastopol residents voted in favour of joining Russia. Ukraine still considers Crimea to be its territory. The leadership of the Russian Federation has repeatedly stated that the inhabitants of Crimea voted for reunification with Russia in full compliance with international law and the UN Charter. According to Russian President, the Crimean issue is "finally closed."

Disproof

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.

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.

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.

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.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 240
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/04/2021
  • 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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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine.

There is irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has stated that “the information available suggests that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February 2014 when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government".

Disinfo: 150 Turkish troops arrive in Eastern Ukraine

150 Turkish troops have arrived in Eastern Ukraine. Some of them were spotted in the city of Mariupol near the front line. They look like special operations forces. They are probably those who will be coordinating the efforts of militants in Northern Syria, whom Turkey is going to recruit in Ukraine. NATO military specialists and equipment are being amassed near Mariupol. Turkey is trying to draw Ukraine into a big war with Russia, although Ankara itself will not take part in it.

Disproof

This is a recurring propaganda narrative from pro-Kremlin media claiming that NATO troops are warring in Donbas together with the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

In reality, Kyiv and Ankara are developing military cooperation, and Turkey sent a batch of Bayraktar TB2 drones to Ukraine last year. The first reconnaissance flight was performed over Donbas on 9 April 2021. But there is no NATO military presence in Donbas. Some NATO top commanders visit Kyiv and hold talks with Ukrainian leaders to discuss military cooperation and plans for Ukraine's integration into the Alliance, in particular within the framework of Enhanced Opportunities Partnership (EOP) status. NATO is committed to supporting Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. However, any military involvement by the Alliance’s troops in Donbas is out of the question.

Disinfo: Lithuania is spending less than 2 per cent of GDP on defence

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Disproof

Disinformation about Lithuania.

Statistics from Lithuania's Ministry of Defence show that Lithuania's expenditure on defence is more than 2 per cent of its GDP. Lithuanian military spending reached NATO guideline standards in 2019.