MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian Defense Ministry on Friday accused Britain of staging a fake chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma last weekend, a bold charge that comes amid Moscow's stern warnings to the West against striking Syria.

A day before a team from the international chemical weapons watchdog was to arrive in Douma, just east of Damascus, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said that images of victims of the purported attack were fakes staged with "Britain's direct involvement, " without providing evidence.

White Helmets first-responder volunteer and activists claimed an alleged chemical attack on April 7 by the Syrian government killed over 40 people in the town of Douma, the allegations that drew international outrage and prompted Washington and its allies to consider a military response. Moscow warned against any strikes and threatened to retaliate.

Konashenkov released statements by medics from Douma's hospital, who said a group of people toting video cameras entered the hospital, shouting that its patients were struck with chemical weapons, dousing them with water and causing panic. The medics, however, said none of the patients had any symptoms of chemical poisoning, according to the statements.

Konashenkov said that "powerful pressure from London was exerted on representatives of the so-called White Helmets to quickly stage the premeditated provocation." He added that the Russian military has proof of British involvement, but didn't immediately present it.

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