The Polish PISM site provides excellent, sober analysis [in English] of the sensational leaked Kremlin policy note recently published in 'Novaya Gazeta', and elsewhere.
They claim "...the note provides a rather daring (if cynical) plan for stoking fake secession in Ukraine for the sake of subsequent takeover of the Eastern and Southern regions by Russia. This would be all started at the time when Yanukovych was formally still the president of Ukraine." [my highlight]
In Feb 1st 2014 I described in my blog a long Hromadske TV interview with senior Party of Regions' parliamentary deputy Inna Bohoslovska.
"After the Sochi Olympics Bohoslovska suggested there will be an attempt by Russia to 'nibble off' portions of Ukraine, particularly Luhansk and Kharkiv oblasts, and maybe Crimea. Kharkiv would be a big problem because although the local strongmen, Mayor Gennady Kernes and Regional State Administration head Mykhaylo Dobkin would be co-operative if such a turn of events were to occur, the local population, in particular, young students could react unpredictably. This scenario is being organised by Putin adviser Vladislav Surkov.."
1hr 33/34 min and onward into this video:
[Surkov, is one of Putin's closest and most trusted aides. He was recently accused of organising the Euromaidan killings... Bohoslovska is from Kharkiv]
The conclusion must be that most of Ukraine's upper political echelons, which included Bohoslovska, must have been very well aware that invasion by Russia was very probable, and that they were aware of this at least three weeks before Yanukovych's absolutely unpredicted and unexpected flight from office .
Bohoslovska's predictions of what she called a 'war between Russia and Ukraine' are markedly similar to the ideas expressed in the policy note, so confirming the leaked policy note is most likely genuine - thus debunking Russia’s claims that the uprisings in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine were a response to a "coup d’etat" organised by "US sponsored fascist/Banderite puppets" in order to topple a legitimately elected president.
p.s. All of this may explain why Yanukovych decided to abandon his office...He must have realised 'the game was up' and that Putin would not be his saviour. Yanukovych started making plans for evacuation soon after these interviews took place, the policy note written and Russia's aggressive actions toward Ukraine approved.