Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine.
In fact, it was Russia that instigated the military conflict in Ukraine, not the European Union or the Eastern Partnership (EaP). 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. The European Union stated in July 2014 that "arms and fighters continue flowing into Ukraine from the Russian Federation". Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine in 2015.
Ukraine has repeatedly provided evidence of Russia's role in the war in the east of the country. In January 2017, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that Kyiv filed a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice of the United Nations with the aim of bringing Russia to account for committing acts of terrorism and discrimination, which are the result of its illegal aggression against Ukraine. The lawsuit contains all the facts of Russian aggression against Ukraine, evidence of the illegal annexation of the Crimea, and the occupation of Donbas.
According to the US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), Russian special forces and troops operated to mobilise, lead, equip, and support separatist militias in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine from spring 2014 to the present.