STATELINE (WIFR) – The stakes are rising once again in the standoff between the U.S. and Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.
President Obama has now expanded sanctions in response to Russian actions in Crimea.
The Obama Administration is now warning Moscow against moving its military into Eastern Ukraine. President Obama says he could impose even more costs on Russia. He calls the takeover of Crimea a violation of international law. The latest sanctions target members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. Their assets will be frozen and they are banned from doing business in the U.S.
These sanctions aren’t working according to Rockford University political science professor Bob Evans.
What’s happening in Crimea is much different than what Alyona Gladyshko remembers. She used to visit the region every summer.
“For me it’s unbelievable that now Crimea is not even like a part of Ukraine.”
That’s as Russia tries to take Crimea from Ukraine. The United States is trying to prevent the move with sanctions that may not work.
“There have been sanctions designed to freeze the assets or limit the travel of certain wealthy and influential private Russians and government Russians, they’ve virtually had no effect,” said Political Science Professor Bob Evans.
However, Evans believes President Obama’s threat of economic sanctions does matter.
“Economic sanctions that would reduce the ability of Russia to sell oil and natural gas, that’s huge because almost the only export value the Russians have is oil and natural gas. They depend heavily on those exports.”
Evans says scholars are now talking about the possibility of war, saying things like “the level of tension, the level of anxiety, the level of danger is greater than any time since the Cold War. Why? Because nobody knows what the other side is going to do. We don’t know how ambitious Putin’s intention is.”
Intentions of only taking Crimea or all of Ukraine.
“If Russians have more ambitious motives, we haven’t seen the worst of it yet.”
People Alyona knows are being recruited to the Ukranian army and sent to Crimea. “It’s so scary, it’s so frightening."
Evans says he doesn’t see a war happening soon, but says if sanctions keep escalating, eventually there could be because at some point there’s a line that’s crossed.