(WMBD) — America has watched the war in Ukraine continue for more than a month since the Russian invasion began Feb. 24. According to one local expert, no one thought this would be the state of things.
Angela Weck is the executive director of the Peoria Area World Affairs Council, as well as a professor of history and international studies at Bradley University. She said she never thought the invasion would happen in the first place. Of course, she was proven wrong.
“When it did start, I anticipate now that there is no end in sight,” Weck said. “It’s going to be long and drawn out, likely to be a frozen conflict at best.”
She said the situation has reached an impasse. The Ukrainian fighters refuse to quit, but Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, refuses to lose.
“Those two things are diametrically opposed,” Weck said, “which means there’s no easy end to this.”
Unless Putin turns to nuclear, biological, or other heinous weapons, Weck said, Ukraine still has a chance to keep its sovereignty.
Weck said there are many ways the overseas conflict affects Americans. She started with inflation, primarily skyrocketing gas prices.
“It will pass. The world will level out again,” she said. “There are a lot of producers of gas and oil.”
This will not be a change overnight, she said, but America does not rely on Russia for the majority of its gas imports.
Considering Ukraine is the “breadbasket of Europe,” Weck said food prices will continue to rise. She said last week, about 100 cargo ships of grain were blocked from exiting the Black Sea. While Ukraine can still distribute the products via land, prices will rise because of the logistical hassle.
“And then, of course, there’s the rebuilding of Ukraine,” Weck said. “Either under Russian control or under independence or under long-term violence. People are going to have to live there.”
That rebuilding will be expensive, she said.
Americans can help in Ukraine, whether it be monetarily or symbolically. Weck said wearing Ukraine’s colors shows the world we support a fellow Democratic country. She also said this is a time for Americans to “step up” in the efforts to resettle the 100,000 or so Ukrainian refugees that will spill into the country.
“We are not helpless, and we can stand with Ukraine,” Weck said.