Talks aimed at allaying Russian concerns over EU-Ukraine trade pact end without result

BRUSSELS – Talks aimed at addressing Russia’s concerns about a free trade agreement between the European Union and Ukraine have ended without result and as a result, it will go into force as planned on Jan. 1.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said after three-way talks in Brussels on Monday that “there was no agreement, so this exercise is now over.”

Malmstroem said “there was not enough flexibility on the Russian side” during what was the 22nd round of talks between the three sides over almost 18 months.

Moscow said the pact would interfere with Russia-Ukraine trade but the EU says it could improve trade between them.

The accord is part of a broader EU-Ukraine deal on closer ties, which was at the heart of Ukraine’s political crisis in 2013.