The Kremlin wanted Odesa. The Kremlin wanted Zaporizhzhya. The Kremlin really wanted Kharkiv.
And the Kremlin failed -- big time.
This is one of my biggest takeaways from the telephone intercepts Ukrainian prosecutors released this week depicting Kremlin aide Sergei Glazyev giving detailed instructions to proxies on organizing mass unrest across eastern and southern Ukraineas a pretext for Russian military intervention.
The Glazyev tapes were recorded in February and March 2014, before Russia annexed Crimea and before it invaded the Donbas.
And they show us that, from the very start, Moscow was hoping and planning to annex large swaths of eastern Ukraine -- including the Odesa and Kharkiv oblasts.
On one hand this is nothing new.
We always suspected -- and even assumed -- that the hand of Moscow was behind the unrest in eastern Ukraine and that it hoped to seize what the Kremlin called Novorossia.
But it is one thing to suspect and assume this, and another entirely to hear a top Kremlin aide orchestrating the details to proxies on the ground.
Sometimes it takes a little while for the historical record to become clearer.
Sometimes it takes time for the things we have long suspected -- and even assumed -- to be confirmed.
Sometimes it takes years to fill in the blanks.
That's what happened this week when we learned a lot more about Moscow's designs for eastern Ukraine.
The Kremlin wanted Odesa, Kharkiv, and Zaporizhzhya. But the people there had other ideas.