Russia’s Plans for Crimea Were Long in the Making
Russia has been preparing for this contingency for years - which comes as a surprise to no one who had been following the situation closely. While there have been howls from corners of Congress that the US intelligence community failed to see this coming, Russian contingency planning over Crimea has been known to the US government for at least seven years.
A Dec. 7, 2006 cable from the US Embassy in Kiev, leaked to Wikileaks by former US soldier Chelsea Manning, outlined the ways in which Russia - alarmed by NATO expansion to the east and afraid of Ukraine possibly joining the European Union - was setting the table in Crimea. Ukraine’s so-called Orange Revolution, which brought a government to power that looked west more than east, had happened just two years prior.
Russia had been busy in the meantime.