Disinfo: Ukraine never had a legal right to Crimea


Ukraine has never had the legal right to Crimea. The peninsula has always been and will always remain Russian land.


This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin media trying to deny that Crimea is a part of Ukraine.

Crimea has a very long and complicated history with many peoples living there. Its population was diverse and included in various historical periods Crimean Tatars, Turks, Ukrainians, Russians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Armenians, Italians from Genoa, Urums, Karaites etc. Alans, Scythians, Sarmatians, Goths, Cimmerians, Huns and other ancient nations had also lived there.

Crimea became part of the Russian Empire as a result of the Russo-Turkish war (1768-1774). In 1921, the peninsula ended up in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic within the USSR. It became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954. Pro-Kremlin propagandists say it was a gift from the then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in commemoration of the 300th anniversary of what Soviet ideology called “the re-unification of Ukraine and Russia.” However, the reasons were probably economic rather than emotional. The Crimean peninsula has a land border with Ukraine, but it is separated from mainland Russia by sea. By attaching Crimea to Ukraine, the Soviet leaders aimed at developing the region, whose economy was more connected to Ukraine than to Russia. This was a purely administrative transfer because Communist ideology remained the same. The only difference from Russia was that the Ukrainian langue was introduced in Crimea, along with Russian. However, the proportion of ethnic Russians in Crimea was larger than that of ethnic Ukrainians.

Until the annexation, approximate statistical data indicated that about 58 per cent of the peninsula’s population were Russian, 24 per cent were Ukrainian and 12 per cent were Crimean Tatar, who had begun returning there in 1989 after decades of deportation. The rest were other ethnic groups. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has been fomenting separatist sentiments in Crimea. Living standards in Russia were overall higher to some degree than those in Ukraine back then, so many Crimeans were longing for reunification with what they called their mother country. However, Crimea was by then a legal part of independent Ukraine, and Russian leaders publicly and officially renounced their right to the peninsula. Russian President Vladimir Putin himself repeatedly stated that he was not going to annexed it.

When the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity toppled the then pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, Russia sent troops to Crimea to allegedly protect its Russian-speaking population from whom they called Ukrainian Fascists and Nazis. Then the Russians invaders staged a so-called referendum on 16 March 2014 there, in which they announced that 97 per cent of the participants voted for secession from Ukraine. However, no-one can say exactly how many Crimeans took part in that illegal referendum because no trustworthy statistics are available.

No international body recognises that referendum. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”, 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. Crimea remains an internationally recognised part of Ukraine.

See more disinformation cases claiming that Crimea is historically Russian land.


  • Reported in: Issue 236
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/03/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Crimea, Russian expansionism, Referendum
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Washington's frequent accusations about the Russian interference in the US political processes are all unfounded

Washington's frequent accusations about the Russian interference in US political processes are all unfounded. There is no evidence that Russia intervened in US political processes.


This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to depict Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and in other political processes in Western countries as factually unfounded.

It is not true, as the article claims, that there is no evidence of Moscow's interference in US presidential elections.

The West sponsored the Belarusian protests and planned to attack Belarus

Belarus continues strengthening political and military relations with Russia due to the West-sponsored protests of autumn 2020. The Western forces promoted a “new Belarus” project to model Iraq, Libya, or Yugoslavia. Washington and Brussels have turned the Baltic states and Poland into one large military training ground near the Belarusian and Russian borders.


The disinformation message is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the aggressive West and NATO, protests in Belarus, the puppet status of the Baltic states and Poland, and the Western attempts to instigate colour revolutions in the EU neighbourhood.

There is no evidence that Western countries staged massive unprecedented protests in Belarus following the 9 August 2020 presidential elections. In fact, the Belarusian people revolted against election fraud and police violence towards thousands of rally participants. Read more about the Belarusian protests and the EU's response to massive election fraud and violence by state authorities.

The 2014 Crimean Referendum was used to reduce Poland to a role of a vassal

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Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about “lost sovereignty”. Poland is often presented as a “puppet-state”, "colony" or a vassal of the United States, Germany, Israel or the EU. This narrative includes a message that the USA manipulates Poland in order to promote its anti-Russian policies in the region.

The claim that the Crimean Referendum was used in order to turn Poland into a “vassal” and to deploy thousands of foreign soldiers to this country is unfounded.