Russia sends warships for manoeuvres amid tension in eastern Ukraine Apr 18, 2021 0 360 12345 dpaMoscow Russia has sent 15 warships to the Black Sea for a military manoeuvre amid renewed tensions in eastern Ukraine.The Russian warships passed through the Kerch Strait on the Crimean peninsula on Saturday, the navy said, according to the Interfax news agency agency.The United States had previously cancelled the deployment of two warships to the strategically significant sea that lies between Europe and Asia following complaints from Russia, according to Turkish sources.There had been fears the presence of Russian and US warships in the waters off Ukraine could lead to a military showdown.Washington backs the government in Kiev and US President Joe Biden has promised the Ukrainian president “unwavering support.” On Friday, the Russian Defence Ministry declared that certain areas of the Black Sea near the Crimean Peninsula, with Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, would be closed off through October because of the manoeuvres. However, shipping in the strait was not affected.The European Union, NATO and Ukraine criticized Russia’s actions. A senior EU official spoke of an “extremely worrying development.” International concern is growing about an escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine because of Russian troop deployments not far from the Ukrainian border.For almost seven years, parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions along the Russian border - collectively known as Donbas - have been controlled by separatists loyal to Moscow.According to UN estimates, more than 13,000 people have been killed in the fighting. A peace plan agreed in 2015 with Franco-German mediation is on hold.The head of Ukraine’s military operation, Sergei Nayev, indicated that he does not expect a new immediate escalation, despite the recent amassing of Russian troops at the border.“We don’t see any attack preparations there,” he told Ukrainian television on Friday night. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Raul Castro says he will step down, marking end of an era for Cuba Apr 18, 2021 0 262 US and Japan commit to taking on ‘challenges from China’ together Apr 18, 2021 0 272 Merkel receives AstraZeneca vaccine shot Apr 18, 2021 0 36 Royal family bids farewell to Prince Philip at intimate funeral dpa Windsor, England The coffin of Britain’s Prince Philip was interred in the royal vault of St George’s Chapel in Windsor at the end of a funeral service that featured just 30 mourners on Saturday. Queen Elizabeth II, .. Myanmar military gives New Year’s amnesty to 23,000 prisoners dpa Bangkok Myanmar’s military granted amnesty to more than 23,000 prisoners as the country began marking it traditional New Year festival on Saturday, state-run broadcaster MRTV reported, though it was unclear ..