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Missouri State professor discusses growing tension between Russia and Ukraine

Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 9:34 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Tensions are building at the Ukrainian border.

A swarm of more than 150,000 Russian troops are at the border, which officials say is more than half of all Russian ground forces. United States stock markets also took a big hit on Thursday over worries about the crisis.

Springfield political science experts, like MSU professor Dr. David Romano, say it is a very concerning situation. Romano says it is hard to predict where the dice will land on this.

The tension has existed for decades, and has escalated in recent weeks.

”Russia, under Putin, has always been very concerned about Ukraine falling into the the west’s orbit by assimilating to the west, joining the EU and NATO, which would be a complete Russian nightmare,” Romano said.

Amid the crisis, western efforts have been underway.

“The United States is trying to rally European allies behind an effort to deter Russia from invading Ukraine, without a ceding to Russia’s demands on these various issues,” Romano said. “And also not recognizing the invasion that took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.”

He said that is also fueling all the uncertainty.

”Is he [Putin] willing to follow through if he doesn’t get what he wants? Because right now, it looks like no one’s giving him what he wants,” Romano said.

Top U.S. officials said there still is strong evidence Russia is “moving towards an imminent invasion.” Professor Romano said it likely a very troubling time for Ukrainians all across their country.

”I don’t imagine it can be very easy for Ukrainians, it’s quite worrisome,” he said. “They need international support to stand up to this, but the closer Ukraine gets to the west, the more it inflames Russian security fears, because it’s their backyard. And it doesn’t seem to help the process either.”

In the meantime, Romano said the conflict could have some consequences for US consumers. He said Ukraine is a significant producer of all kinds of minerals, ores and food.

“It’s not just oil and gas prices,” Romano described. “[Ukraine is] in the breadbasket of the region. It’s one of the largest exporters of food in the world. This could impact everything from the price of milk at Walmart to what it costs to to fill up your car.”

Economists said the price of oil could soon soar to $130 a barrel because of tensions in Ukraine. Crude oil prices already jumped by nearly 40% since November.

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