Disinfo: The referendum in Crimea took place as a result of a coup d’état in Ukraine in February 2014


The referendum in Crimea took place as a result of a coup d’état in Ukraine in February 2014.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that Euromaidan was a coup d’état.

Maidan or Euromaidan, the demonstrations which began in November 2013 in Kyiv and finished in February 2014, was not provoked from outside but was a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. More cases on this topic here.

In order to justify the illegal annexation of Crimea and the reunification with Russia, Moscow claimed that Euromaidan was a coup d’état. In 2014, a particular political context enabled the mobilisation of latent pro-Russia sentiment in Crimea after the occupation by the “green men” had already occurred, NOT vice versa. Euromaidan created a pretext for Putin to enact a pre-prepared contingency plan.

The European Union does not recognise Crimea's illegal annexation and continues to condemn it as a violation of international law. EU sanctions continue to be in place against Russia as a consequence for the annexation. For the EU statement on the fifth anniversary of Crimea annexation see here.

For other disinformation cases about Crimea see here.


  • Reported in: Issue 160
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/08/2019
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Ukraine, Coup, Referendum, Crimea


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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NATO’s “Sea Breeze 2019” was a total failure thanks to Russia

The “Sea Breeze 2019” military drill failed because Russia was the winning party. Russia forced Ukraine and NATO to retreat to the Black Sea, as exercises had to be changed after Russia announced the start of their own training exercise near the Crimea. Therefore, Russia expelled the Ukrainian and NATO forces.



This is a misrepresentation of events designed to portray Russia as the superior might over NATO and part of a recurring disinformation campaign undermining NATO exercises. Exercise Sea Breeze, now in its 19th iteration, took place in the Black Sea between 1st-12th July 2019 with participation and support coming from 17 other countries to include: Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Whilst it is true that the military drills were rescheduled after the sudden closure of certain areas of the Black Sea by the Russian military as noted by Rear-Admiral Alexei Neizhpapa, Head of the exercise for Ukraine, this did not affect the execution of tasks. At no time were the exercises concluded as a complete failure. At the closing ceremony, U.S. Navy Capt. Matthew Lehman, commodore, Task Force 65 and U.S. exercise director for SB19, said that he was "proud of the work and training during the exercise, but countries must remain focused because work continues and that "I am encouraged by reports that the at-sea portion of the exercise has gone well thus far, and I am confident this will continue with the next at-sea period next week".

London has no evidence of Moscow’s complicity in Skripals’ poisoning

British police have acknowledged that they have no evidence to suggest that the Russian authorities were complicit in the attack on the Skripals.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury claiming that the UK has never proved Russia’s involvement and has not provided any evidence.

As clearly stated by Ambassador Karen Pierce, UK Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Security Council on the 5th of September 2018, UK police and UK intelligence services have produced sufficient hard forensic evidence to charge two Russian nationals, identified as officers of the Russian Military Intelligence, GRU, for the attack against the Skripals. The investigative outlet Bellingcat later revealed the identities of the two Russian nationals.

Zelenskyy was elected by Ukrainian oligarchs

Zelenskyy was elected by Ukrainian oligarchs, or the so-called Ukrainian bourgeoisie, which fears Russian bourgeoisie and can never be on good terms with them.


Recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy about the Ukrainian Presidential election.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe declared that the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine was competitive and held with respect for fundamental freedoms. Election day was assessed positively, and despite a few procedural problems, there was a marked improvement in the conduct of the vote count and tabulation compared to the first round.