Disinfo: Ukrainian vessels entered Russian territorial waters, that belonged to Russia even before Crimea joined it


Ukrainian vessels entered Russian territorial waters, the waters that were Russian even before Crimea has joined the Russian Federation.



Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Ukraine and Azov Sea.

A bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004, governs the use of the Kerch strait and the Sea of Azov, which in the treaty is considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine. Debunking by Polygraph.

Crimea is part of Ukraine. Russia violated international law as well as key principles of the European security framework in illegally annexing the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. The European Union does not recognise and continues to strongly condemn this violation of international law, which remains a challenge to the international security order. This position is based on the UN Charter, which clearly states that the territory of a State cannot be acquired by another State resulting from the threat or use of force, as well as on the Helsinki Final Act in which the signatories declared their intention to respect the inviolability of frontiers and territorial integrity. 

For background:

On November 25 border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen. Russia argued that they were in Russian waters.

The construction of the Kerch Bridge took place without Ukraine's consent and constitutes a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It has led, in parallel with the militarisation of the Azov Sea, to tougher controls on naval traffic in the strait. The European Union stated that it expects  Russia to stop the inspections.

For further reporting see the BellingcatDFRLab and Polygraph.



  • Reported in: Issue128
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/11/2018
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Keywords: Azov sea, Kerch, 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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There is a civil war in Ukraine

There is a civil war in Ukraine in the south-east in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about war in Ukraine.

It was Russia that provoked a war in Ukraine. For further debunking see here.

In 2014 Crimea decided to join Russia

In 2014 Crimea decided to join Russia.


Widely recurring disinformation narrative.

Crimean referendum was organised by a self-proclaimed Crimean leadership installed by armed Russian military personnel following the seizure of public buildings.

British military advisers are forcing Ukraine to stage a chemical attack in order to blame it on Russia

Military experts from British special operations forces arrived to Ukraine to assist the Ukrainian forces sabotage mineral fertiliser factory. Their aim is to stage a chemical contamination, provoke evacuation of local residents, draw attention of international community to the situation in Donbass and blame it on Russian separatists. Intelligence of Donetsk national Republic observed 10 people from the Ukrainian special forces near the factory carrying boxes with a chemical hazard sign and wearing chemical protection equipment.



No evidence given.

A combination of recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about staged chemical attacks, Western military support for Ukraine, and UK conspiracies to blame Russia, as in Skripal case.