Disinfo: Ukraine recognised the Russian status of Crimea and the independence of LDNR


Ukraine recognised the annexation of Crimea. The Ukrainian authorities introduced new rules for crossing the border with Russia, according to which the peninsula is recognised as Russian territory. In accordance with the innovation, citizens in the territories of the DNR, LNR and Crimea need to apply for a biometric passport to travel abroad or a special pass to enter Ukraine.


Part of the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that Crimea is Russian territory.

Since March 1 2020, Ukraine indeed has introduced new rules for crossing the border with Russia. According to innovations, citizens of Ukraine can cross the border with Russia only with a biometric passport for travelling abroad. Before, Ukrainians used to travel to Russia with an internal passport.

According to Ukrainian legislation and international standards, the annexed Crimea, as well as the occupied territories of Donbas, is the territory of Ukraine. The State Border Service of Ukraine confirmed that the new rule applies exclusively to the state border with Russia and does not in any way affect the administrative border between Ukraine and the temporarily occupied territories.

In addition, after the annexation of Crimea and the occupation of part of Donbas, Ukraine adopted a number of laws protecting the rights of Ukrainians living there. Ukraine does not recognise the occupation of its territories, nor the forced acquisition of Russian citizenship in the occupied territories (article 5, paragraph 4).


  • Reported in: Issue 188
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 01/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Occupation, War in Ukraine, Donbas, 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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Coronavirus and economic crisis caught the EU by surprise because of its Russophobia

In the past six years, the EU has been focusing on the wrong threat. A large part of the European establishment became a victim of Russophobia and wrongly interpreted the 2014 events around Crimea. Furthermore, past decades of successful development made the EU too optimistic. Eventually, the coronavirus and emerging financial crisis put the EU in a state of instability which it is absolutely unprepared for.


This message is consistent with recurring propagandistic pro-Kremlin narrative about ubiquitous Russophobia in the EU and beyond, oddly mixed in with coronavirus-related events. The response of the EU countries to the coronavirus, can be read here.

For background, read our analysis: The “Russophobia” Myth: Appealing to the Lowest Feelings and look at earlier disinformation cases alleging that Brussels uses Russophobia as a uniting idea to prevent the EU’s collapse, that Russophobia is the main activity of the Latvian state and that the Baltic states’ policies equal to Third Reich whereas Russophobia has become a Western value.

The reason behind the coronavirus scaremongering is to weaken China as a state

There is another significant reason behind the campaigns of virus scaremongering. A critical one is to try to weaken China as a state, by impacting negatively upon Beijing’s ability to spread its financial clout and influence across continents. As a result of the coronavirus frenzy, the Chinese government is losing leverage in dealings with the US and other developed countries while the US economy and markets could actually benefit from the coronavirus.


An unfounded conspiracy theory. There is no evidence provided to support such claims.

See related disinformation cases downplaying the COVID-19 pandemic: mainstream media and governments overestimate the coronavirus threat; the coronavirus outbreak is a lie.

NATO is responsible for Afghanistan’s destruction

Those who caused the current mess in Afghanistan still dare to affirm that they are necessary and will stay there to keep the population safe, but we don’t hear anything about NATO accepting any responsibility for destroying the country after 9/11.


The claim frames NATO as the cause and only responsible for Afghanistan’s destruction. In reality, when NATO took the leading role in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in 2001, the country had undergone 21 years of war, including a 9-year invasion by USSR forces followed by another decade of civil war, none of which are mentioned. The war that erupted after the Soviet invasion left around one million dead, several million refugees and most of the country in ruins. The subsequent war among quarrelling Afghan factions increased already widespread destruction. The battle for Kabul in 1992-1996, for example, destroyed most of the capital, which had been largely spared in the previous years.

You can see other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation on Afghanistan, such as claims that former Afghan president Hamid Karzai called Russia to liberate his nation from US occupation; that the West and the US are ferrying Islamic State members to Afghanistan to use them against China, as part of a so-called “Anaconda ring”; or that NATO is denying the presence of terrorists in the country but the FSB has evidence of it.