The European Union has expressed disappointment over the decision by the Government of Ukraine on Thursday to suspend the process of preparation for signature of the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between the EU and Ukraine. "This is a disappointment not just for the EU but, we believe, for the people of Ukraine," said EU High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Catherine Ashton, in a statement late Thursday. "The signing of the most ambitious agreement the EU has ever offered to a partner country would have further enhanced the reform course of Ukraine and sent a clear signal to investors worldwide as well as to international financial institutions that Ukraine is serious about its modernization pledge, " she noted. The Ukrainian government Thursday said that it was instead looking into fostering relations with Russia. An European Parliament monitoring mission to Ukraine also issued a statement expressing "deep disappointment at the unilateral decision of the Ukrainian Government to postpone the signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union." "We take note of the (Ukrainian) Prime Ministers remarks on the stressed state of economy and the dramatically increased pressure from Russia in recent weeks," it added.