Disinfo: Ukraine received its territory from Russia under various circumstances


The Ukrainians received their (current) territory from Russia.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative aimed at the revision of Ukrainian history – Ukraine is presented as a historical part of Russia, country without its own history and no tradition of state institutions. See other cases on the alleged territorial claims against Ukraine here and here.

The history of the Ukrainian statehood dates back to the times of the Kievan Rus’ (9-13th centuries), which was the first East Slavic state (which gave birth to numerous Slavic principalities on the territory of present-day Russia). Throughout 13-18th centuries, major parts of the Ukrainian lands were part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Ukrainians have a rich history of independent Cossack states (Zaporozhian Sich), which existed in the 16-18th centuries. The Russian Empire established its control over the largest part of Ukraine only at the end of the 18th century – it means that throughout the major part of its history, the territory of Ukraine did not have any connection to present-day Russia.

Ukraine was proclaimed as an independent state on August 24, 1991. The Ukrainian independence referendum took place on December 1, 1991 - the overwhelming majority of the population (over 90%) voted in favour of independence. Throughout the 1990s, the Russian Federation and Ukraine signed several agreements, which officially acknowledged the inviolability of state borders between two countries (1992 Agreement; 1997 Russian–Ukrainian Friendship Treaty). Moreover, the Russian Federation guaranteed the inviolability of the Ukrainian borders by signing the Memorandum on Security Assurances in connection with Ukraine's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1994. It is important to remember that in all of its international agreements, Russia recognized the Crimea as part of Ukrainian territory.

In other words, in 1991, Ukraine became an independent sovereign state with internationally-recognized borders - the claim that "Ukraine received its current territory from Russia" is not backed by any historical or international document.


  • Reported in: Issue 171
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/10/2019
  • Language/target audience: Polish
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Historical revisionism, Ukrainian disintegration, Ukrainian statehood


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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