The official land demarcation of the sovereign nations of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus has eventually begun.
The first post hammered into the ground at Sinkovsky village in the Ukrainian Oblast of Chernihiv at the exact spot where Ukraine, Russia and Belarus all meet.
Well, and having official marked Ukrainian borders with Moldova, and the EU nations the same now must take place with its other neighbours to the north and east.
Because if Ukraine and Russia eventually want to turn Visa free dialogue (Russia not withstanding Kaliningrad which already has Visa-free with Poland), road maps and readmissions (Ukraine) with the EU into actual Visa-free travel, then obviously there needs to be clearly agreed borders between both nations and recognised by the EU as one side of any arbitrary line being one nation and the other, another.
I had feared that this would drag on with little interest from Russia, simply to put a spanner in the EU/Ukrainian road-map works, however of late both Russia and the EU (in particular Germany, Poland and France – Weimar Triangle) have been pushing the Visa-free issue with Russia forwards rather than backwards.
It is now in Russian interests (as well as Ukrainian interests) to officially complete a territorial demarcation process of just what belongs to whom and officially recognising that between themselves.
The problem I suspect will not be over any land border demarcation negotiations, but more specifically over the sea boarders, in particular the Kersh Strait and the little island of Tuzla Spit which sits within.
Who will cede over this strategic little spot will be quite interesting to discover. Traditionally it has been administered by Crimea, however Crimea was not part of Ukraine until 1956 and both were part of the now defunct USSR with Russia.
Enough wiggle room for Russia to put up a convincing argument in negotiations? Unlikely the EU will care. They will simply be looking for a formal conclusion to demarcation in the process, however a likely stumbling block ahead between Ukraine and Russia.