WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Tensions continue to rise and have turned deadly in Eastern Ukraine. 22News found out why we should care about what’s going on overseas.
Sometimes, when we hear about these conflicts, they seem so distant. However, this conflict is very personal to many people here in western Massachusetts.
Ukraine is divided. After Crimea seceded from the country and was adopted by Russia, pro-Russians living in Eastern Ukraine are hoping they can do the same. It’s believed Russia is supplying them with weapons to fight against the Ukrainian government. The fighting has turned deadly.
“There’s the fear that the Russian Federation which has about 40,000 troops on Ukraine border may use that as justification to send in military troops,” said American International College International Business Professor Gary Lefort.
West Springfield has a large Russian and Ukrainian population. Many people told 22News this is such a personal topic for them that they didn’t feel comfortable talking about it without getting emotional.
Professor Leforte said they fear family members will be killed in the fighting, and Ukrainian immigrants fear their country will once again become part of Russia.
“I understand how it can bring back some previous concerns I think anytime there’s a conflict anywhere in the world, it could have worldwide ramifications. There’s no such thing in being an isolated country anymore,” said Kevin Shippee of Springfield.
Others sympathize with the Pro-Russian’s calls for freedom from Ukraine.
“If the people there determine that they want to be part of the bigger the Russian continent, I think they should be free to determine that on their own,” Brian Grisel of Springfield told 22News.
The conflict could impact the U.S. economy too. Russia provides Europe with oil through Ukraine. If that relationship ends, oil and gas prices could increase as Europe competes with the U.S. on the Global Market. Western nations have imposed economic sanctions on Russian businesses as a threat to stop interfering in Ukraine.