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Purportedly Leaked Document 'Shows Kremlin Had Advance Plan To Seize Crimea'

The Russian daily newspaper Novaya Gazeta has published a plan -- allegedly given to the Kremlin two weeks before President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted last year -- calling for Russia to "foment separatism" in eastern Ukraine and seize Crimea.

The February 25 edition of the newspaper showed a copy of the memo, which suggested a series of steps Russia should take to maintain control over the situation in Ukraine.

The newspaper said the memo was prepared sometime between February 4 and 12, 2014, and alleges ultranationalist Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev might have been behind it, a charge Malofeev denies.

The memo says Ukrainian oligarchs had lost control of the situation on Kyiv's Maidan Square and that the leaders of demonstrations there were being guided by "Polish and British secret services."

The memo predicted Yanukovych's fall and said Russia should use the EU's own rules on autonomous regions to bind Crimea and eastern Ukraine to Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested the memo is fake.

Based on reporting by Novaya Gazeta and the International New York Times

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