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The situation in Ukraine: a West Block primer

Watch: A West Block primer on the situation in Ukraine and how we got here

Just days away from a ceasefire, Russian-backed separatists are mounting a major, sustained effort to capture Debaltseve, a strategic railway hub south of Artemivsk.

Associated Press reporters saw the body of a child killed Friday afternoon after rocket fire hit a residential area in Artemivsk. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack.

The deadline for the warring sides to halt hostilities is Sunday morning at one minute after midnight.

Ukraine consists of three basic regions, the centre including Kiev, the west and its strong ties to Europe and the east, where most people speak Russian and look to Moscow for leadership.

The conflict is in the east, rebels there want to be part of Russia.

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Against overwhelming evidence, Russia denies involvement in the conflict.

In recent weeks fighting has intensified. The United Nations says over 5000 have died and nearly one million are homeless.

Sanctions against Russia have been imposed by the west with calls for even more. To combat this, with or without a ceasefire, is it now time to send arms to Ukraine?

This Sunday Tom Clark will talk to Taras Zalusky with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the University of Ottawa’s Roland Paris about how far Canada’s involvement should go if the ceasefire fails to hold.

– with files from The Associated Press

You can watch The West Block with Tom Clark on Global at:
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The show is repeated 10:30 p.m. in Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon, and 11:30 p.m. everywhere else.