Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Local Experts Weigh in on Russia-Ukraine Crisis

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The rapidly-developing situation on the border of Russia and Ukraine is being watched with a mix of concern and outright fear by people in the Bay Area.

Local Ukrainian families and Soviet experts worry that the sides are on the brink of war, with other saying it's already begun.

With Russian President Vladimir Putin formally recognizing the independence of two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine and reportedly ordering Russian "peacekeeping troops" into those areas, local experts say the situation is dire.

"If they try to take Kyiv, it could be tens of thousands of people who would die," said Dr. Kathryn Stoner, director of Stanford's center on democracy.

Stoner said damage to Ukraine, the second largest country in Europe and a huge source of agriculture, could have worldwide implications.

"In a sense, I would just say that the invasion in a way has begun in terms of just the economic damage that is being inflicted already and has been on Ukraine, people canceling contracts, businesses withdrawing people," Stoner said.

Nick Bilogorskiy, who runs Nova Ukraine, a Bay Area group providing aid to the country and its people, has family there.

"I'm appalled by this," he said. "I'm disgusted by this. I'm really frustrated and worried for the family I have in Ukraine and what that means to the world order."

He said Nova Ukraine, which organized a rally over the weekend, will now focus on humanitarian relief, helping those who are likely to be displaced as the world waits to see how far Russia plans to go.

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