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UK's UN ambassador denies Russian accusation

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Updated April 13, 2018 01:14 PM EDT

BEIRUT (AP) — Britain's U.N. ambassador is vehemently denying a Russian military claim that the United Kingdom staged an alleged chemical attack in Syria last weekend, calling it "bizarre" and "a blatant lie."

Karen Pierce said she wanted "to state categorically ... that Britain has no involvement and would never have any involvement in the use of a chemical weapon."

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Friday that Britain was "directly involved in the provocation," but didn't elaborate or provide evidence.

"This is grotesque," Pierce told reporters as she left an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. The meeting was called by Russia to address U.S. threatened military action in response to last weekend's attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma.

She added: "It's some of the worst piece of fake news we've yet seen from the Russia propaganda machine."

Updated April 13, 2018 11:16 AM EDT

BEIRUT (AP) — The Russian military says that an alleged chemical attack in Syria was staged and directed by Britain.

Syrian rescuers, medics say gas attack near capital kills 40

Volunteer first responders and activists claimed a chemical attack by the Syrian government killed over 40 people in the town of Douma, which drew international outrage and prompted Washington and its allies to consider a military response. Moscow warned against any strikes and threatened to retaliate.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor 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 and causing panic. The medics said none of the patients were hurt by chemicals.

Konashenkov said Friday that Britain was "directly involved in the provocation," but didn't elaborate or provide evidence.

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign minister has asserted that a suspected chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma last weekend was fabricated with the help of an unspecified foreign intelligence agency.

Sergey Lavrov says Russian experts have inspected the site of the alleged attack in Douma, just east of Damascus, and found no trace of chemical weapons. He says Moscow has "irrefutable information that it was another fabrication."

Lavrov spoke to reporters in Moscow on Friday.

He said that "intelligence agencies of a state that is now striving to spearhead a Russo-phobic campaign were involved in that fabrication." He didn't elaborate or name the state.

The attack has drawn international outrage and prompted the United States and its allies to consider a military strike on Syria, something Moscow has strongly warned against.

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