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Ukraine Crisis Expected to Have Impacts in Idaho, nation

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Friday, February 25, 2022   

The crisis in Ukraine has boiled over as Russian forces invade the country, and experts believe Idaho and the rest of the United States will feel its effects.

Dr. Florian Justwan, associate professor of political science at the University of Idaho, called it the biggest security crisis in Europe since World War II.

Justwan said energy prices already are increasing around the world and likely will continue to go up, since Russia is a major gas producer. He also noted Ukrainians could start to flee in massive numbers if large-scale fighting breaks out.

"European nations are going to be faced with a real challenge of accommodating potentially millions of refugees coming out of Ukraine," Justwan pointed out. "If a crisis of that magnitude were to materialize, there would be calls for the United States as well to help alleviate the burden."

Idaho is a destination for refugees. According to the Idaho Office for Refugees, the state accepted more than 1,100 people fleeing war and violence in 2016 before the Trump administration lowered the country's cap. The Biden administration has since raised the cap from its historic lows.

Justwan emphasized it will be important for the international community to respond to the attack, not just because it flies in the face of international law, but because it is necessary to dissuade other countries from making similar decisions.

He cautioned Americans should be on the lookout for misinformation about the conflict.

"For citizens in the United States, one of the really big, important responsibilities is to follow this crisis closely and really fact check some of the more outrageous claims that people might come across," Justwan urged.

Justwan added some false claims, such as Ukraine leading a military campaign against Russian speakers in the country, have been picked up by fringe sites and amplified on social media.

President Joe Biden has announced new sanctions on Russia. The European Union and other countries have put similar measures in place.


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