BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s president says Russia is acting as a “partner for terrorists” in eastern Ukraine and responsible for the downing of a Malaysian jetliner.

In the strongest comments to date from a Romanian official, the pro-US leader Traian Basescu said “the responsibility for the aviation tragedy in Ukraine belongs to groups of terrorists in Ukraine and in equal measure to Russia which made weapons available.”

He said Monday that “Russia is part of the terrorist act,” referring to the crash in which 298 people died.

Basescu also criticized the European Union saying tough sanctions should have been put in place to discourage “the ease with which Russia fuels the conflict generated by terrorists in eastern Ukraine.”

He urged European leaders to put people’s safety ahead of “economic interests.”

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