Belarus is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), founded by Russia, Ukraine and Belarus  in 1991 as a successor entity to the dissolved Soviet Union open to all the republics of the former USSR.  Member states were recognized as sovereign and independent.  Ukraine ultimately did not sign the CIS Charter, the Baltic states rejected joining, and Georgia withdrew after the 2008 war with Russia.   The CIS has functioned mainly as a consultative forum and an optional framework for cooperation in various fields.