PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — As the Russian war in Ukraine escalates, two dignitaries were in Central Illinois talking about how the fighting is impacting economies and human lives.

Thursday night, the Peoria Area World Affairs Council hosted the current ambassador of Ukraine to the U.S., and John Herbst, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. The two spoke at Bradley University.

WMBD’s Mark Welp spoke with Herbst after an East Peoria Chamber of Commerce roundtable discussion.
Herbst said he knows Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy personally and said he has proven to be a great war leader who has accomplished a lot.

“To rally support he needs from partners, especially the U.S. but also the European Union to provide the assistance he needs to make sure Putin does not conquer Ukraine. His performance has been both gutsy and brilliant,” Herbst said.

This is all happening as world leaders gather at the United Nations. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Russian President Vladimir Putin chose this week to add fuel to the fire as he mobilizes thousands of reserve fighters.

President Biden said Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenants of the UN charter. Zelenskyy took it even farther.

“We must finally recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism,” Zelenskyy said.

Putin has also said nuclear weapons are at his disposal.

Herbst said it is dangerous for the west to be intimidated by Putin’s threats because if it works for him now, he will continue to invade other countries.