Opposition lawmakers have booed Ukraine's prime minister, whose government shelved a potential historic deal with the European Union, while turning toward Moscow.

The lawmakers chanted "Shame!" and threw stacks of paper at government ministers and tried to prevent Prime Minister Mykola Azarov from speaking Friday as he sought to defend the government's turnaround in parliament.

Azarov's Cabinet said Thursday it was suspending preparations for signing a free trade and a political association agreement with the EU at next week's summit.

He told parliament that Ukraine could not afford to lose trade with Russia, but stressed that the decision was only tactical and that the strategic goal was still the EU.

Meanwhile, several dozen activists continue round-the-clock protests on a Kiev square, the site of the 2004 Orange Revolution.