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."