KIEV, March 19 Ukraine could review its
membership of the Moscow-dominated Commonwealth of Independent
States (CIS) following Russia's move to incorporate the Crimea
peninsula, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
A statement on the ministry's website said Ukraine had
already decided it no longer wished to serve as 2014 chairman of
the CIS, a loose grouping of former Soviet states with limited
"Ukraine has decided not to continue its chairmanship of the
CIS for 2014...(and) reserves the right to review its future
membership," Foreign Ministry spokesman Evhen Perebynis said in
He said many member states of the CIS had supported
Moscow's move to take control of Crimea and sign a treaty to
make it a part of Russia.
Ukraine has had an uneasy relationship with the CIS since it
was created following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and
has on occasions stayed away from its twice yearly summits.
But under former Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich,
ousted last month after three months of protests, it had
developed closer ties with the group.
A Russian deputy foreign minister, Vasily Nebenzya, told RIA
news agency that Russia regretted Kiev's decision on the CIS
chairmanship but added that "it is their right".
The CIS groups all 15 former Soviet republics except the
three Baltic states - Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - which
never joined and Georgia, which pulled out over its 2008 war
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice;
Editing by Ron Popeski)