Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, which is not a civil conflict but a war instigated and waged by Russia.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court 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 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". At the NATO Summit in Wales in September 2014 and at successive summits since then, allied leaders also demanded that Russia refrain from aggressive actions against Ukraine and stop fomenting tension along and across the Ukrainian border.
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, although their presence was denied by Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine in 2015.