How a Russian invasion affects more than Ukraine

Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 6:50 PM CST
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CENTRAL ILLINOIS (Heart of Illinois ABC) - With the world watching Eastern Europe, many are asking how a Russian invasion of Ukraine would impact us here at home.

For the United States, the effects are mainly financial. Russia is considered a ‘petrol state,’ which means their economy relies mainly on trading fossil fuels. With Germany stopping certification of the ‘Nord Stream 2′ pipeline carrying Russian natural gas to Germany, prices could start to rise even more.

But the consequences could mean more than just rising gas prices. With such a high Polish population in Illinois, an invasion could affect local families with international relatives.

Locally, some international residents are feeling the impacts, too. A Ukrainian exchange student at Bradley University says his pride for his homeland is steadfast.

“Everything that’s happening, it can seem far away, and maybe it seems unimportant, but it is [important],” says Volodymyr Kohut. “Support matters.”

Originally from the western part of Ukraine, Volodymyr came to the U.S. eight years ago, and has stayed in touch with his family in the western parts of the country. He says NATO needs to do more, mainly by intervening in Russia moving forward with invasion.

What’s going on in his country is the latest in what many fear could become a full-scale invasion, peaking after years of Ukraine’s interest in joining western groups like NATO or the EU in 2014.

“When Ukraine took that step and clearly looked westward, I think that’s what started this aggravation,” says Angela Weck, a faculty member in the Department of History at Bradley.

Now, many across the world are asking the same question: what comes next?

“What happens in Ukraine will spill over,” Weck adds. “First, it will spill over to our European friends and allies, and what happens to our European friends and allies will spill over to us.”

The fallout won’t just be felt by American citizens, either.

“In Ukraine, I guess we’re just hoping for the best and preparing for the worst,” says Kohut.

Despite it all happening in another part of the world, Weck says that doesn’t diminish its importance.

“Ignorance doesn’t justify invasion. So, even if we can’t find something on a map, it doesn’t mean another country has the right to take it over just because we don’t know where it is to defend it.”

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