What the Ukraine crisis means for the U.S.

WTAP News @ 11
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 9:42 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Russia invaded Ukraine this week, sending the country into chaos. While Ukraine may be overseas, it doesn’t mean the war won’t impact the U.S.

WTAP spoke to two professors about the conflict’s trickle down effect. For one of these educators, the war is closer to home than a TV screen.

Americans have already been feeling the pinch at the pump but Political Science Professor Dr Mark Schaefer of Marietta College warns to brace yourself again.

“For what your viewers will see first will be a rise in gas prices just because there is a threat to oil and gas production and the movement of oil and gas through Ukraine. That’s going to increase prices here,” he said.

Plus the supply chain woes from the pandemic are expected to get worse.

Schaefer went on, “We don’t get an awful lot in the United States from Russia. We don’t get a lot from Ukraine but, with all of these supply and demand pressures throughout the world kind of played up through the pandemic, we will feel the supply and demand pressures kind of compounded by that.”

And Political Science Professor Renata Harmatiy of Cuyahoga Community College warns that the dollar itself could take a blow.

“..., so, in terms of our financial structures, if we see a destabilization of Europe, we see a problem with our financial flows. This will hurt us eventually whether it will be with our interest rates or with what happens to the dollar,” she said.

Still, both professors emphasize the importance of maintaining a united front.

Harmatiy said, “..., the misinformation that might be happening in our social media could also cause a lot of political infighting and divisiveness because that is a tool at the Russian government’s hands.”

There’s also cybersecurity concerns.

For Harmatiy, however, it’s more personal. Like many other Americans, she has family there.

“When I went yesterday to pick up my children from school, there was a woman from Ukraine, actually from Kyiv in particular, and, when she saw me, she burst into tears and said ‘I’ve been crying alone all day horrified because my son and my children and my grandchildren, they’re in Kyiv and they don’t know what to expect. They don’t know if their apartment is going to explode and what will happen when the Russian troops arrive in Kyiv,’” she said.

While some of Harmatiy’s relatives were able to get out of Kyiv since they left earlier, communication has been sparse.

“A lot of family members are nervous about communicating because they’re simply afraid that they’re being monitored.”

Amidst tyranny still, Harmatiy says Ukrainians find hope.

“Ukrainians are survivors, they’re optimists, they work hard, and it’s a very very diverse community and I think that unity and diversity and respect that we’re trying to live with and remembrance of the past so that we can build a strong, democratic future is not going anywhere.”

Harmatiy points out that many Russians are against the invasion but don’t have a voice. According to NBC, over a thousand Russians gathered in Moscow Thursday evening to protest.

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