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Ukraine and the CIS

Jul 20, 2013


Often people think that Ukraine is a part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), an organization which was created after the collapse of the USSR in early 1990s for peaceful separation of former republics of the USSR. Even authoritative magazines and news agencies, as well as international business structures think that Ukraine is a part of CIS, but it is not true.

While looking for the official information in order to prove what I’m saying, I stumbled upon a web site of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, in particular, their article on history of Ukraine’s participation in the CIS. Below you will find the official information on status of Ukraine in the CIS:


1. On December 8, 1991, the President of Ukraine signed an Agreement on Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), according to this agreement Ukraine became one of the founding states of the CIS. This agreement was ratified by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Ukrainian Parliament) on December 10, 1991, with reservations.

On December 20, 1991, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine made a statement “On concluding an agreement between Ukraine and the Commonwealth of Independent States”. According to the last paragraph of this statement, its provisions are official interpretation of the aforementioned agreement.

On December 21, 1991, Ukraine signed the Protocol to the Agreement on Establishment the Commonwealth of Independent States, which is its integral part.

In the aforementioned documents, which are crucial for Ukraine’s participation in the CIS, there is nothing about associated membership in this regional organization.

In addition, the possibility of associated membership is not foreseen neither in mentioned above agreement nor in the protocol.

On January 22, 1993, the CIS Charter was adopted by decision of the CIS heads of states. Ukraine did not sign this decision.

According to the Part 1 of the Article 8 of the CIS Charter “according to the decision of the heads of states of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the state wanting to become an associated member has to show its will to take part in certain types of its activity on the conditions, which are determined by the agreement on associated membership”.

The agreement on associated membership under the CIS Charter was not signed by Ukraine.

2. Article 7 of the Charter stipulates, that “those states, which signed and ratified an Agreement on Establishment the CIS and its Protocol are considered as the founding states”.

The member-states of the CIS are those founding states, which accept the obligations under the CIS Charter within one year after its adoption by the heads of states.

Thus, Ukraine is one of the founding states of the Commonwealth of Independent States, but not a member-state of the CIS, as a state, which did not sign the decision on the adoption of the CIS Charter.