Russia: EU sanctions will encourage terrorists

Russia on said Saturday the latest round of European Union sanctions jeopardize the fight against international terrorism, and placed blame on the U.S.

While the new EU sanctions were imposed due to Russia's annexation of Crimea and escalated involvement in Ukraine, Russia lashed out at the lies it says were spread by the U.S. about its alleged involvement in the downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine.

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The sanctions announced on Friday place travel bans and asset freezes on 15 people, including the head of Russia's Federal Security Service, the Associated Press reported.

"We are sure the decisions will be greeted enthusiastically by international terrorists," Russia's Foreign Ministry said.

The head of the department overseeing international operations and intelligence was also sanctioned, along with four members of Russia's national security council.

Russia's Foreign Ministry railed against the sanctions in a statement Saturday, saying 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."

In a separate statement Saturday, the ministry said the U.S. is spreading "an unrelenting campaign of slander against Russia, ever more relying on open lies."

Russia was responding to comments made Friday by White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who said Washington believes Moscow is involved in the shooting down of the Malaysian jet that killed 298 people because Russia allegedly supplied missile systems to rebels and trained them.

Russia shot back that there is no hard evidence and chided Earnest for stating the allegations were supported by claims made 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," the ministry said in a statement.