Disinfo: Reunification of Crimea and Russia cannot be called occupation


In the case of the reunification of Crimea with Russia, the term “occupation” cannot be used. After the unconstitutional coup in Ukraine, the Crimeans themselves decided to secede from Ukraine. After that, a democratic referendum was held in Crimea – there was no occupation or annexation.


Part of the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that Crimea is Russian territory. Also, this is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative painting the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a coup orchestrated by the West. 

The international community, including the European Union, recognises and condemns clear violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014. 

Read similar cases that The Hague court recognised Crimea as Russian and that Two top US officials say there is no prospect of returning Crimea to Ukraine.


  • Reported in: Issue190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Occupation, 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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MH17 investigation: Malaysia is sidelined, no proofs of Russian implication

JIT investigation of MH17 downing did not bring any results except indirect proofs against Russia based on information presented by the allegedly independent Bellingcat group. The JIT repeatedly ignored not only proofs gathered by independent journalists and experts but even by the participants of the investigative process. From the very onset, Malaysia was brutally sidelined from the investigation because its opinion differed from the policy of accusing Russia. Malaysian experts were not allowed to the Boeing crash spot and were not informed about the investigation process.


The report advances recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the MH17 crash. Malaysia was not sidelined from the investigation process as alleged. Malaysia's Prosecutor's office cooperated in the investigation conducted by the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT). Speaking at the press conference of the JIT on June 19, 2019, the deputy Prosecutor General of Malaysia, Mohamad Hanafiah bin Zakaria, reiterated Malaysia's commitment to the JIT in seeking justice for the victims and stated that the JIT findings were based on extensive investigation and legal research. [See at 57:30 - 58:14]

On the 24th of May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion that the BUK TELAR used to shoot down MH17 came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation. On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service are prosecuting Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the crash of the MH17 and murdering the 289 persons on board. The public hearing started on March 9th 2020 in the Netherlands.

The US is the main global sponsor of terrorism

Western Europe and the US are to blame for increased flows of migrants to the EU. Earlier they destroyed a number of relatively developed countries such as Libya and Syria. The US is the main global sponsor of terrorism, it organised a terrorist war against Syria.


This message is part of a broader conspiracy theory alleging that the United States or the UK have links to terrorist organisations. There is no evidence that the US has supported radical Islamist terrorist groups in Syria or in Iraq. The US-led military campaign in Syria has been fighting ISIS and Islamic terrorists along with the Global Coalition Against Daesh.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the United States raised the Islamic State terrorist organisation, that terrorist organisations, the US and UK’s irregular troops, may be used against China, that the US is helping terrorists in Afghanistan, and that the White Helmets were created by Western security bodies and they have connections with terrorists.

The coronavirus puts EU’s existence into question

Europe has turned into the main source of coronavirus. China has mostly managed the outbreak, while Russia and other post-Soviet countries successfully combat coronavirus. The EU bodies look absolutely pathetic and helpless. The emergency situation revealed a horribly low level of management and responsibility of the EU establishment. Coronavirus epidemics puts forward the question point-blank: given that the EU is clearly incapable to address the modern challenges, will it continue to exist?

The XXI century events repeatedly demonstrated that the EU cannot be a meaningful global actor as it cannot adequately react to geopolitical and military challenges. A phenomenal carelessness of EU politicians about coronavirus infection has just proven this. Coronavirus crisis demonstrated that the EU is just ceasing to exist in the new reality.


This message exaggerates the inefficient governance in the EU, without providing any facts to these claims. The message is generally consistent with a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about EU's and other Western states and organizations imminent collapse. Read our past analysis 5 Common Pro-Kremlin Disinformation Narratives to learn more about this and the other most frequent propagandistic narratives.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Italy, Spain, Portugal, and possibly even France are in line to exit the EU, that a number of EU countries teeter on the brink of default, and that the EU is rotten and countries are leaving it.