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Moscow Warns Talks Unlikely To Avert Trade Embargo Against Ukraine

Russia has warned that there's only a slim chance of averting a trade embargo against Ukraine when Kyiv's free-trade pact with the European Union takes effect in January.

Russian Economy Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev said he hasn't entirely given up hope of reaching a deal that would satisfy Moscow's objections to the trade pact and avert sanctions through three-way talks between Russia, the EU, and Ukraine.

He said after a day of meetings in Brussels that the talks had been "positive" though "difficult," and "there is a chance of [success], although I wouldn't say it's very great."

Ulyukayev said Russia was considering putting the same kind of sanctions on Ukraine that it has applied to the EU.

Moscow has banned the import of food from the EU in retaliation for EU sanctions imposed over Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Ulyukayev said Russia expects it could minimize the damage to its own economy from such a food embargo to about 100 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) a year.

Talks over a possible compromise are expected to continue in November.

Based on reporting by Reuters, TASS, and Interfax