Kremlin document 'shows Russia planned Ukraine attacks'
Newspaper publishes document reportedly leaked from Kremlin claiming Russia had long-intended to destabilize Ukraine
The Kremlin has denied claims it was advised to break up Ukraine and annex its pro-Russian regions even before former pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev last year.
The denial came Thursday after respected Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a document, purportedly leaked from the Kremlin, which suggested Russia had long intended to destabilizeUkraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the report as fake, saying: "I don’t know whether this document exists at all.
"The document has nothing to do with the Kremlin for sure."
Novaya Gazeta reported the strategy document containing plans to annex Crimea was forward to Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration in February last year, days before Yanukovych fled the capital.
- 'Annex and control'
The newspaper published sections the document purporting to advise the Kremlin to "play on the ... ambitions of different regions of the country with the aim ... of initiating the joining of its eastern areas to Russia."
It described the challenges facing Ukraine and suggested a series of steps through which Moscow could take advantage of them to annex Crimea and control parts of eastern Ukraine.
It went on to propose creating conditions to hold referendums in Crimea and the Russian-speaking Donbass region related to self-determination and possible reunification with Russia, suggesting the European Union would not be able to oppose the moves.
According to the document, the need for Russia to maintain its gas supply routes which help it dominate European supplies was highlighted, with the proposal that Russia should take action to maintain control of Ukraine's gas pipeline.
The document was attributed to Orthodox Christian businessman Konstantin V. Malofeev, a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the object of Western sanctions.
- 'Categorical' denial
He reportedly advised that incorporating the territories into Russia would burden the country's economy, but saying Moscow's geopolitical strategy would be strengthened with Russia gaining access to new manpower including highly qualified personnel in industry and transport.
As well as the Kremlin denial, Malofeev has also "categorically denied" authorship.
Russia annexed mainly Russian-speaking Crimea on March 21 last year. More than 5,600 people have been killed in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists who rose up in east Ukraine the following month.
Last Modified: 2015-02-27 11:05:40
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