Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called on the European Union to consider Ukraine's bid to join the bloc.
"I am calling on the EU to admit that Ukraine can become an EU member in the future," said Poroshenko, addressing EU leaders at a summit in Kyiv on April 27.
The EU-Ukraine summit is the first since their Association Agreement was signed last year after the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, which was followed by Moscow's takeover of Crimea and the seizure by Russian-backed separatists of territory in eastern Ukraine.
Poroshenko said ahead of the summit that he hopes EU officials will send "strong signals in support of Ukraine and its European integration."
EU President Donald Tusk told Poroshenko that along with having a "powerful enemy," Ukraine also has "a lot of friends."
Tusk said Ukraine can "count on their help but it will not be enough unless you yourself change Ukraine."
The EU-Ukraine summit is the first since an association agreement was signed last year after the ouster of Ukraine's pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych.
Leaders were also expected to address Poroshenko's request for European peacekeepers to help monitor the cease-fire, as well as the status of economic and political reforms in Ukraine.
An unnamed EU official told the AFP news agency on April 27 that Brussels had received the peacekeeping request from Kyiv.
"We are studying these proposals in detail," he said, but added that the EU saw "no reason" to replace observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) now monitoring the cease-fire.
The Minsk truce has led to a decrease in violence, but violations are reported routinely by Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists.
On April 26, the Ukrainian military reported a soldier had been killed and seven others wounded in rebel attacks.
Prospects for the implementation of the Minsk agreement's political provisions are clouded by disputes.
In March, EU leaders agreed that economic sanctions imposed on Russia will stay in place until the Minsk agreement is fully implemented, effectively extending them to the end of the year if need be.
Russia denies backing the rebels, as Kyiv and the West charge.
The UN says the conflict in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 6,100 people since April 2014.
The EU official also told AFP that the Kyiv summit would focus on reforming Ukraine's economy.
Among other measures launched in recent months, Kyiv has introduced a new anticorruption body and passed laws to clean up its banks.
"The test is in the real implementation, the changes in real life for people" that the reforms bring, the official said.
He said the EU delegation would demand Ukraine finalize constitutional reforms this year, including agreements on the status of areas controlled by the pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters