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Russia slams US 'unrelenting slander' over MH17 tragedy

MOSCOW -- Russia accused on Saturday the United States of spreading flagrant lies about Russia's alleged involvement in the downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine

Russia's Foreign Ministry said the United States is conducting “an unrelenting campaign of slander against Russia, ever more relying on open lies.”

The ministry took particular issue with comments Friday by White House spokesman Josh Earnest, in which he said Washington regards Moscow as involved in the shooting down of the airline that killed 298 people because it allegedly has supplied missile systems to the rebels and trained them on how to use them.

The ministry complained that these contentions have not been backed up with public evidence and it sneered at Earnest for saying the allegations are backed up by claims on social media.

“In other words, the Washington regime is basing its contentions on anti-Russian speculation gathered from the Internet that does not correspond to reality,” it said.

In a separate statement, Russia lashed out at the latest round of Ukraine-related sanctions imposed by the European Union, saying they endanger the fight against international terrorism.

The EU sanctions, announced on Friday, impose travel bans and asset freezes on 15 people, including the head of Russia's Federal Security Service and the head of the agency's department overseeing international operations and intelligence. Four members of Russia's national security council are also on the list.

A Foreign Ministry statement denounced the sanctions, saying they show the EU is taking “a complete turn away from joint work with Russia on international and regional security, including the fight against the spread of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism (and) organized crime.”

“We are sure the decisions will be greeted enthusiastically by international terrorists,” the ministry said.

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