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Poroshenko Recalls Ukraine's Envoys From CIS Bodies

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (file photo)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a decree recalling Kyiv's envoys from bodies of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a loose grouping of former Soviet republics that he said Ukraine no longer has any use for.

Poroshenko announced the decree in a speech in the western city of Vinnytsia on May 19, his press service said.

"We have nothing more to do there,” Poroshenko said, according to a statement from his office. "We are moving together to Europe."

Kyiv has been an associate member of the CIS since it was formed following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Full members include Russia and eight former Soviet republics -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Poroshenko announced plans to quit the CIS last month, criticizing the organization's "failure to denounce Russia's aggression [in Ukraine]."

Ukraine has been fighting against Russia-backed separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk since April 2014, after Russia seized control of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

Poroshenko, who was elected after Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych fled in February 2014 following months of mass street protests, has repeatedly said that Ukraine's future is linked with Europe and not Russia.