Russia saw the US’s intention to establish an American or NATO naval base in Crimea. Russia managed to organise the defence of the Russian-speaking population of the peninsula and a referendum. Even Trump and his colleagues do not argue with the referendum’s results.
The article contains several recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the annexation of Crimea.
The claim that NATO or the US was planning to base ships and missiles in Crimea is fiction. The idea has never been proposed, suggested or discussed within NATO.
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 deemed illegitimate under international law, and then formally annexed the peninsula and brought it under Russian territorial control. Following the covert invasion by “little green men,” the referendum in Crimea was conducted hastily and at gunpoint, barring impartial observers from entering the peninsula. A year after the illegal annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.
The referendum has not been recognised by any international body. On the date of its announcement, the 27th of March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution 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 the 5th anniversary of Crimea's annexation, the EU reiterated its position of non-recognition of illegal annexation and declared that it continues to stand in full solidarity with Ukraine, supporting its sovereignty and territorial integrity.