Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced that Ukraine’s representatives are being recalled from the statutory bodies of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The president made a statement to this effect during Europe Day celebrations in Vinnytsia, Interfax-Ukraine reports.
“Today I signed the corresponding decree to recall all of Ukraine’s representatives from all of the CIS’s statutory bodies. We have nothing more to do there – we are moving together into Europe,” the Ukrainian President said.
In his speech, Poroshenko emphasized that Europe should be understood not as a geographical category, but as “the common values of independence, democracy and respect for the individual and his rights and liberties… Ukrainians too are undoubtedly a European nation, which has made its choice of civilization: at least 70% of our citizens support the idea of Ukraine joining the European Union. I am confident that Ukraine will inevitably become a member of the great European family! Let us celebrate Europe Day together!” the head of state declared.
Deputy spokeswoman of the CIS executive committee Vera Yakubovskaya said that the institution has not yet received notice concerning the recalling of its Ukrainian representatives. The committee’s chief spokesman Vladimir Nikanorov commented that Poroshenko’s statement may not have serious consequences. “Ask Ukraine a question: who exactly have they recalled this time? The fact is, there are currently no staff from Ukraine in the executive committee. Previously, up to 2014, Ukrainian representatives held quite high offices: deputy chair, department director, deputy department director. These were serious positions. But in 2014 they recalled the previous representatives, and they have not appointed new ones,” the executive committee spokesman told RIA Novosti.
Kyiv has repeatedly spoken of plans for Ukraine to withdraw from the CIS. As early as March 2014, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council decided to end the country’s representation in the CIS, and announced the start of the plans to withdraw from the commonwealth. In October 2016, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said that the options for withdrawing were being considered. At the time, the minister pointed out that the process was made more complicated by the large number of agreements signed in the context of the CIS, which would need to be revised or denounced. Nevertheless, a year later, in October 2017, CIS executive committee chairman Sergey Lebedev said that Ukraine had effectively withdrawn from involvement in the organization’s operation. However, the diplomat noted that officially Kyiv is still a member of the Commonwealth.