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US diplomat slams Russian Internet slurs

US diplomat Jen Psaki hit back Tuesday at Russia’s “propaganda machine,” accusing it of being behind a series of Internet slurs mocking her for stumbling over her words.

As spokeswoman for Secretary of State John Kerry, Psaki runs the gauntlet of the world’s media in her daily briefings, when she is quizzed on US foreign policy in the full glare of the cameras.

But her regular criticism of Moscow’s role in the crisis in Ukraine has turned her into an easy target of Russian media and bloggers, who have launched a series of attacks on Twitter and YouTube.

The attacks have been led by the Russian state-run television network RT, whose reporters have had a couple of run-ins with Psaki during the briefings, which put together a slide show called: “Jen Psaki’s most embarrassing fails.”

That was followed by another Russian TV show which poked fun at what it called “Psaking… when someone makes a dogmatic statement about something they don’t understand, mixes facts up and then doesn’t apologize.”

But Psaki hit back Tuesday, saying the attacks on her were “sexist” and adding “many people know that there are efforts by the Kremlin and the propaganda machine to discredit a range of officials, including recently myself, as silly as that is, because the United States supports a strong, democratic Ukraine.”

“So if I get dinged a bit for that, I’m not going to sweat it. I will take it as a badge of honor.”

Psaki’s boss, Kerry, also stood up for her on Sunday, tweeting “always proud of @statdeptspox; she deals in facts #attacksareabadgeofhonor.”