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MOSCOW: Tensions are rising over the conflict in eastern Ukraine, with growing violations of a cease-fire and a massive Russian military buildup near its border with the region. Ukraine and the West have become worried about the Russian troops' concentration and have urged Moscow to pull them back. Russia has argued that it's free to deploy its forces on its territory and sternly warned the government in Kyiv against using force to reclaim control of the rebel-held territory east where more than 14,000 people have died in seven years of fighting. Here's a look at some of the issues involving the conflict in eastern Ukraine: What are the roots of the conflict?Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union until its 1991 collapse, and since then Russia has sought to keep the neighbor in its orbit. The separatist conflict in Ukraine's eastern industrial heartland, known as the Donbas, short for Donetsk Basin, erupted in April 2014. That came a few weeks after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula following the ouster of a Moscow-friendly president by a popular uprising in the capital of Kyiv. Armed rebels in the mostly Russian-speaking eastern region seized government buildings and proclaimed "people's republics" in the Donetsk
AMSTERDAM (REUTERS) - KLM flight KL1376 from Bucharest to Amsterdam was evacuated before departure on Saturday (Oct 3) following a bomb threat, which later appeared to have been a false alarm, a spokeswoman for the Dutch airline said. All passengers and crew left the plane safely, after which local authorities searched it without finding any explosives on board, spokeswoman Gerrie Brand told Reuters. The flight to Amsterdam will now leave on Sunday, Brand added.
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - A US government commission on Wednesday (April 21) urged the Biden administration to not send officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing religious persecution including China's repression of Uighur Muslims, which Washington has labelled genocide. President Joe Biden's administration signalled earlier this year that it had no plans to bar American athletes from participating in the Beijing Games. But calls from lawmakers and activists have been mounting for a coordinated diplomatic boycott in which athletes would compete but government representatives would shun the Games. Some have also made a case for a possible postponement or relocation of the event scheduled for next February. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom in an annual report encouraged Washington to continue to impose targeted financial and visa sanctions on Chinese government agencies and officials responsible for "systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations." It also recommended that the US government "publicly express concerns about Beijing hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and state that US government officials will not attend the games if the Chinese government's crackdown on religious freedom continues." Activists and UN rights experts say at least a million Muslims have been detained in camps