Disinfo: There was no armed pressure on Crimeans or Crimean Tatars during the March 16 referendum


Ukraine contends that the March 16 referendum, in which Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, took place at gunpoint. That bit, however, is untrue. Neither the “little green men” nor uniformed Russian soldiers were present at polling stations during the vote. There was no armed pressure on Crimeans, not even on the indigenous Crimean Tatars, who didn’t back the secession and mostly abstained from voting, to show up or to fill in ballots a certain way. The presence of Russian troops played a role (more on this later), but it wasn’t what made the referendum illegitimate.


There is numerous evidence that the referendum was held under duress of Russian military intervention. The Venice Commission also stated that "the massive public presence of (para)military forces is not conducive to democratic decision making" and that "the circumstances did not allow the holding of a referendum in line with European democratic standards". www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/?pdf=CDL-AD(2014)002-e, UNGA Resolution 68/262 recalled that "the territory of a State shall not be the object of acquisition by another State resulting from the threat or use of force". On 1 March 2014 Russia's upper house of parliament approved President Putin's request for Russian forces to be used in Ukraine. www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26400035, rg.ru/2014/03/05/voyska-dok.html, www.nytimes.com/2014/03/17/world/europe/crimea-ukraine-secession-vote-referendum.html, www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/16/crimea-referendum-polls-open-live, www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-crimean-tatar-un-peacekeepers/25317014.html, www.nytimes.com/2015/03/10/world/europe/putin-contrary-to-earlier-assertions-suggests-planning-to-seize-crimea-started-in-early-2014.html, www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26481423, www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-crimea/crimea-prepares-for-referendum-under-heavy-military-presence-idUSBREA2E09R20140315, www.cfr.org/interview/why-crimean-referendum-illegitimate, www.rferl.org/a/putin-merkel-crimea-ukraine-russia/25298876.html, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10669756/Crimean-leader-claims-control-and-asks-Vladimir-Putin-for-help.html, www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26698754,


  • Reported in: Issue 83
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/10/2017
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Crimean Tatars, Crimea, Referendum
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Explosions in Vinnitsa were organized by Ukrainian soldiers

The recent explosions in the munitions depot in Vinnitsa were organized by the Ukrainian soldiers themselves to cover up their traces. They have stolen a lot of weapons and try to escape responsibility in the face of the audit which might take place soon.


TV Zvezda is a regular mouthpiece for pro-Kremlin disinformation euvsdisinfo.eu/dependent-media-russias-military-tv-zvezda/, . Vladislav Seleznev, a spokesman for the Ukrainian general staff, stated that the military were investigating various possible causes of the fire. The SBU, the Ukrainian security service, said it suspected the fire was an act of sabotage. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/27/fire-ukraine-ammunition-depot-prompts-mass-evacuation/,

Numerous gangs consisting of Ukrainian soldiers are raiding the harvest

Gangs of ATO fighters are prowling all over the country [in Ukraine] and raiding the harvest of the farmers. They just steal the harvest.


No evidence given. This summer, Ukraine recorded several raider attacks on farmers - the phenomenon that is widespread in all the former Soviet republics. There is however no evidence or record of those kind of raids being carried out by "participants of the Anti-Terror Operation" in Donbas.

There is no evidence that there are Russian tanks in Ukraine

There is no evidence that there are Russian tanks in Ukraine.The OSCE, Pentagon, Nato Headquarters, the Council of Europe and the Kiev court have never confirmed it.


The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe considers that the actions of the Russian Federation leading up to the annexation of Crimea, and in particular the military occupation of the Ukrainian territory and the threat of the use of military force, the recognition of the results of the illegal so-called referendum and subsequent annexation of Crimea into the Russian Federation constitute, beyond any doubt, a grave violation of international law, including of the United Nations Charter and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Helsinki Final Act. website-pace.net/documents/10643/110596/20140410-Resolution1990-EN.pdf/57ba4bca-8f5f-4b0a-8258-66ca26f7117b, The European Union stated in July 2014 that "arms and fighters continue flowing into Ukraine from the Russian Federation". www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/144158.pdf, At the NATO Summit in Wales in September 2014, NATO leaders condemned in the strongest terms Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and demanded that Russia stop and withdraw its forces from Ukraine and along the country’s border. NATO leaders also demanded that Russia comply with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities; end its illegitimate occupation of Crimea; refrain from aggressive actions against Ukraine; halt the flow of weapons, equipment, people and money across the border to the separatists; and stop fomenting tension along and across the Ukrainian border. www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_50090.htm#, According to the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Russian special forces and troops operated to mobilize, 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. www.dia.mil/Portals/27/Documents/News/Military%20Power%20Publications/Russia%20Military%20Power%20Report%202017.pdf?ver=2017-06-28-144235-937, In August 2014, the Ukrainian Army seized 10 Russian armed paratroopers of the 331st regiment of the 98th division ‘Svir’ (military unit No 71211) near the Ukrainian village Zerkalny, the Donetsk region; in July 2017, Victor Ageyev, corporal of the Russian GRU (military secret service) unit was captured in the East of Ukraine. As for the tanks, according to Kyiv Russia has 20 times more of them in Ukraine now after 3 years war. For more information see nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-t-72b3-the-lethal-russian-tank-ukraine-fears-most-16500, or www.newsweek.com/russia-has-20-times-more-tanks-ukraine-after-three-years-war-says-kiev-654490, The exhibitions of Russian weapons captured by the Ukrainian Army in Donbas, including Russian tanks, are regularly held in the centre of Kyiv. Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine in 2015. www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/17/vladimir-putin-admits-russian-military-presence-ukraine,