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As EU meets to discuss its eastern expansion, acknowledgment that for now no deal with Ukraine

  • Ukrainian students shout slogans during a gathering to support European Union integration at Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday Nov. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Ukrainian students shout slogans during a gathering to support European Union integration at Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday Nov. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

  • Part of a  500-meter-long signed petition addressed to Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych laying on the ground not far from the presidential palace in the centre of Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday Nov. 27, 2013. Thousands of people on Wednesday kept up their nearly week-long protest against the Ukrainian government's decision to ditch an agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia, but officials showed no signs of relenting to their demands. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    Part of a 500-meter-long signed petition addressed to Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych laying on the ground not far from the presidential palace in the centre of Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday Nov. 27, 2013. Thousands of people on Wednesday kept up their nearly week-long protest against the Ukrainian government's decision to ditch an agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia, but officials showed no signs of relenting to their demands. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

  • Riot police guard the Presidential Office in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday Nov. 27, 2013. Thousands of people on Wednesday maintained a nearly weak-long protest against the Ukrainian government’s decision to ditch a landmark agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia, but the authorities have ignored the demands. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Riot police guard the Presidential Office in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday Nov. 27, 2013. Thousands of people on Wednesday maintained a nearly weak-long protest against the Ukrainian government’s decision to ditch a landmark agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia, but the authorities have ignored the demands. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

As leaders of the European Union gather for a summit discussing the bloc's eastern expansion, a senior EU official admits that plans of closer ties with Ukraine will be postponed for when Kiev is ready.

Faced with pressure from Russia, Ukraine's leaders have decided to shelve for now plans for further integration with the EU, sparking protests at home. Russia would like Kiev to join a separate union that aims to rival the EU.

But Ukraine's first deputy prime minister, Serhiy Arbuzov, said his country "needs Europe, a European course," indicating that the suspension of talks is not final.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele said the EU is "ready to resume the preparations for the signature of the association agreement as soon as Ukraine is ready."