Does this mean war?: Congressman and UNCW professor comment on Russian crisis

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Tensions are mounting on the Ukrainian border where Russia is gathering and training at least 100,000 troops.

According to UNCW International Studies Professor Daniel Masters, Russia has quietly gathered and trained troops near the Ukraine since at least October of last year. But Masters believes it could take an invasion of NATO allied countries for a full fledged World War.

“No, we will not go to war over Ukraine,” Masters explained. “I don’t see any intention of us to get involved if its just limited to Ukraine.”

Though thousands of Russian soldiers are lining Ukraine’s border, many believe Russia is only interested in negotiating for a sliver of land at the edge of the Ukraine to solidify their control over Crimea, which they invaded in 2014.

“…to take portions of the eastern part of the country that would then create a contiguous land bridge for Russia into Crimea,” Masters said.

But if negotiations go south, Russian forces could move west into the Ukraine, either taking the land bridge or toppling the government and taking over the country itself.

According to Masters, “Many Russians would see the birthplace of Russia as Ukraine. Ukrainians don’t see that anymore, but Russians clearly do.”

The U.S. and several European countries say if Russia invades, it will mean strict financial sanctions against the country and Putin himself, freezing assets and limiting his movement to within Russia. Some U.S. legislators, including Congressman David Rouzer hope we strike first.

“Weakness invites war,” said Rouzer over the phone. “We don’t need to be tepid about this. We need to be very straightforward and very strong and have a massive showing of strength and support. Because once Russia takes Ukraine, I guarantee you they’re going to want to take other countries.”

The worldwide game of Russian Roulette could impact every part of the world’s financial systems and mean troops stateside would be deployed.

“Deployment of military forces into NATO space,” said Masters, “which could include both areas in Eastern Europe including Poland as well as the Baltics.”

Masters believes whether Russia negotiates or invades part or all of the Ukraine, they could act within days.

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