* Russia says EU sanctions will harm security cooperation
* Says United States has contributed to Ukraine crisis
* Germany: sanctions to pressure Russia into "serious talks"
* Britain accuses Russia of making false claims about crash
(Adds Australian PM speaking to Putin, Germany's Gabriel)
By Vladimir Soldatkin
MOSCOW, July 26 Russia reacted angrily on
Saturday to additional sanctions imposed by the European Union
over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, saying they would
hamper cooperation on security issues and undermine the fight
against terrorism and organised crime.
Russia's Foreign Ministry also accused the United States,
which has already imposed its own sanctions against Moscow, of
contributing to the conflict in Ukraine through its support for
the pro-Western government in Kiev.
The 28-nation EU reached an outline agreement on Friday to
impose the first economic sanctions on Russia over its behaviour
in Ukraine but scaled back their scope to exclude technology for
the crucial gas sector.
The EU also imposed travel bans and asset freezes on the
chiefs of Russia's FSB security service and foreign intelligence
service and a number of other top Russian officials, saying they
had helped shape Russian government policy that threatened
Ukraine's sovereignty and national integrity.
"The additional sanction list is direct evidence that the EU
countries have set a course for fully scaling down cooperation
with Russia over the issues of international and regional
security," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"(This) includes the fight against the proliferation of
weapon of mass destruction, terrorism, organised crime and other
new challenges and dangers."
The EU had already imposed asset freezes and travel bans on
dozens of senior Russian officials over Russia's annexation in
March of Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and its support
for separatists battling Kiev's forces in eastern Ukraine.
The decision to move towards targeting sectors of Russia's
economy came after last week's downing of a Malaysian MH17
airliner, killing 298 people, in an area of eastern Ukraine held
by the Russian-backed separatists.
The United States and other Western countries accuse the
separatists of downing the plane with a surface-to-air missile
supplied by Russia. The separatists deny shooting down the plane
and Russia says it has provided no such weapons. Moscow has
suggested Kiev's forces are to blame for the crash.
On Saturday, Britain's Foreign Office accused Russia of
making "contradictory, mutually exclusive claims" in blaming
Ukraine for the tragedy and said it was "highly likely" the
separatists had brought it down with a Russian-supplied missile.
In a second statement on Saturday, Russia's Foreign Ministry
said Washington shared responsibility for the crisis.
"The United States continues to push Kiev into the forceful
repression of (Ukraine's) Russian-speaking population's
discontent. There is one conclusion - the Obama administration
has some responsibility both for the internal conflict in
Ukraine and its severe consequences," the ministry said.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany,
Europe's largest economy which also has strong trade ties with
Russia, spoke out strongly in favour of the new EU sanctions
against Moscow in an interview published on Saturday.
"After the death of 300 innocent people in the MH17 crash
and the disrespectful roaming around the crash site of marauding
soldiers, the behaviour of Russia leaves us no other choice." he
told Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
"We remain true to our course: cleverly calibrated and
mutually agreed measures to raise the pressure and towards a
willingness to have serious talks with Russia," he said in the
interview, conducted on Friday.
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel told the Spiegel
weekly in comments due to be published on Sunday that the
sanctions should above all hit Russia's oligarchs, arguing that
the country's political system rested on them.
"We must freeze their (bank) accounts in European capitals
and deny them the ability to travel," Gabriel said.
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said
he would hold talks in the Netherlands next Wednesday with his
Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte on how to secure full access for
international investigators to the site of the plane crash.
"This will require the cooperation of those in control of
the crash site and the Ukrainian armed forces," he said.
The separatists remain in control of the area where the
plane came down. A total of 193 Dutch nationals and 43
Malaysians were among the victims aboard MH-17, which had been
flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Russia has said it wants an independent investigation into
the crash, under U.N. auspices. The Kremlin said on Saturday
President Putin had spoken by telephone with Australia's Prime
Minister Tony Abbott about the need to allow international
recovery experts safe access to the crash site.
At least 27 Australians were killed in the crash.
(Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers in Berlin and
Stephen Addison in London; Editing by Gareth Jones)