Southern Illinois University History Professor speaks on the potential invasion of Ukraine

Oil prices are swinging dramatically close to 100 dollars a barrel.
Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 6:45 PM CST
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - The situation in Ukraine is still developing.

Tuesday Afternoon, President Joe Biden announced he was moving additional troops and equipment to strengthen US allies in the Baltic nations on NATO’s eastern flank.

This comes days after Russian Leader Vladimir Putin ordered forces into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine.

“Ukraine is not threatening anyone. And so, it is outrageous that Moscow thinks it has the right to irrigate the power of a country where 40 million people live,” said SIU History Professor Theodore Weeks.

Weeks studies Eastern Europe and Russia and has taught in Ukraine. He has been studying those regions for nearly 40 years.

He says this ongoing situation is a simmering crisis.

“There is very likely to be some kind of incursion, something smaller than a full pit invasion. That’s what just happened and thus, the. United States and the world have to react to this,” said Weeks.

Ukraine is thousands of miles from the Heartland, but the conflict with Russia will also touch the American Economy.

“Gas prices are already going up, crude oil has gone up and if there were a real invasion, I think there would be a real spike,” said Weeks.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and is backing Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine.

He says the West fears Russian President Vladimir Putin will expand beyond Ukraine.

“He has interest in keeping this conflict peculating, just simmering, there by weakening the economy in Ukraine and he hopes to stabilize that,” said Weeks. “For a lot of Russians, it’s hard to get their mind around the idea that Ukraine is a sovereign independent country. But the sooner they can do that, the sooner we’ll all be happier including Russian citizens. Unfortunately, not all of them see it that way.”

As for a way to take control of this situation, Weeks believes support from the entire world is needed.

“I hope this doesn’t come to a head; I hope that things will simmer down a bit. But on the long run, the only thing that’s going to make this better, is support from the west and from the world saying that it’s not okay to invade the country next door,” said Weeks.

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