Reacting to an October 13 note from Kiev, a Russian Foreign Ministry official (8) on October 28 criticized Ukraine for being "in too much of a hurry" to proceed with the delimitation and demarcation of the Ukrainian-Russian border. His comments were also in response to Ukrainian deputy foreign minister Kostyantin Khrishchenko’s follow-up statement that Kiev is prepared to begin the process unilaterally if Russia continues procrastinating. The Russian said that Moscow will respond to Kiev’s note "in due course and due time." (9)
The official’s relatively non-senior rank and the tenor of his remarks suggest that the Russian side will continue to dismiss or to procrastinate. Russian hard-line circles, and a majority in the Duma, implicitly or explicitly question Ukraine’s borders, particularly regarding Crimea. In the negotiations on the Russian-Ukrainian interstate treaty, Russia’s foreign ministry has thus far withheld the unambiguous recognition sought by Kiev with regard to the existing Russian-Ukrainian border.
Zatulin Again Plays the Ethnic Card.