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CIS Foreign Ministers Approve Draft On Closer Military, COVID-19 Cooperation

A medical face mask on a sidewalk in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have approved a draft concept on further developing cooperation in several areas, including the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry said in a statement that ministers approved a number of documents at the December 10 meeting, including a concept of military cooperation between CIS member states to 2025.

It added that the Council of the CIS leaders will be held online on December 18.

"The participants discussed a wide range of integration cooperation issues within the CIS, with a special emphasis on joint actions to overcome the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic," the Russian Foreign Ministry said after the meeting.

CIS members are former Soviet republics -- Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Turkmenistan has an associate status in the grouping.

Ukraine quit the grouping in 2018, four years after Russia forcibly annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in March 2014 and started backing separatists in Ukraine’s east in a conflict that has killed more than 13,200 people since April 2014.

Ukraine was an associate member of the CIS since the grouping was established following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Earlier, in 2009, another former Soviet republic, Georgia, quit the CIS following a five-day Russian-Georgian war in August 2008, after which Russia has maintained troops in Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and recognized their independence from Tbilisi.

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