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The CIS has few supranational powers, but aims to be more than a purely symbolic organization, nominally possessing coordinating powers in the realm of trade, finance, lawmaking, and security. It has also promoted cooperation on cross-border crime prevention. Furthermore, eight of the nine CIS member states participate in the CIS Free Trade Area, and five of these form the Eurasian Economic Union, a customs union and single market of over 180 million people. In addition, six member states participate in a mutual defense alliance: the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
There are nine full member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The Creation Agreement remained the main constituent document of the CIS until January 1993, when the CIS Charter (Russian: Устав, Ustav) was adopted. The charter formalised the concept of membership: a member country is defined as a country that ratifies the CIS Charter (sec. 2, art. 7).
Turkmenistan has not ratified the charter and changed its CIS standing to associate member as of 26 August 2005 in order to be consistent with its UN-recognised international neutrality status.
Although Ukraine was one of the founding countries and ratified the Creation Agreement in December 1991, Ukraine chose not to ratify the CIS Charter as it disagrees with Russia being the only legal successor to the Soviet Union. Thus it does not regard itself as a member of the CIS. In 1993 Ukraine became an "Associate Member" of CIS. On March 14, 2014, a bill was introduced to Ukraine's parliament to denounce their ratification of the 1991 Agreement Establishing the CIS, following the Russian military intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, but was never approved. Following the 2014 parliamentary election, a new bill to denounce the CIS agreement was introduced. In September 2015 the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed Ukraine will continue taking part in CIS "on a selective basis". Since that month Ukraine has had no r