Ukraine’s slow-motion exit from the Commonwealth of Independent States has led some in Moscow to think it might eventually return, but the organization’s latest meeting shows that no one in the Russian capital has any such expectations now, Yelena Chernenko of Kommersant says.
In contrast to meetings of the organization that have occurred since Kyiv formally notified the body that it planned to leave, this one did not display any Ukrainian symbols and took place in a military facility that clearly showed Moscow views the CIS increasingly as a security alliance, something that makes it even less attractive to Kyiv.
Moscow counts the CIS as having 11 members. Nine of them sent foreign ministers to Moscow on Friday for the first face-to-face meeting in more than a year. One, Moldova, sent a lower-ranking official. And Ukraine, which Moscow still counts as a member, ignored the session altogether.
Two things about Friday’s session were especially striking with regard to Ukraine. On the one hand, there was not a single Ukrainian symbol anywhere. And on the other, the meeting was held not in a diplomatic facility or hotel but in what Chernenko describes as “an unusual place, the International Military Center of the Russian Defense Ministry, where the Warsaw Pact had its meetings.
Given Russian aggression against Ukraine and its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, Kyiv could not be expected to attend or even to remain any longer in an organization that no longer makes any pretense of being something other than a Moscow-dominated structure committed to promoting Russian security goals.