Russia

Russia-Ukraine Crisis: Experts Warn of Geopolitical and Economic Impacts

Russian President Vladimir Putin's military action in Ukraine has prompted a new round of sanctions announced by U.S. President Joe Biden, and the conflict in Eastern Europe will have far-reaching implications worldwide

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The world is watching Eastern Europe, bracing for geopolitical and economic impacts of Russia's action in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden has announced a new round of U.S. sanctions, condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin for "the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine."

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"The effect that this could have on the world system, not just on European security, is pretty profound," Fiona Hill, formerly the top White House advisor on Russia, said Tuesday at Tufts University.

To Hill, the latest developments are very troubling.

"This, I think, upturns the whole of the European security calculation of the last 30 years, since the end of the Cold War," she said.

One of the foremost experts on Putin, Hill said current events show a change in the Russian leader in the recent years.

"Something has obviously happened to him on a personal level over the last two years, that he would decide to take what, for most people, would seem to be a very foolhardy and unnecessary step," Hill said. "So I think we can be very concerned about this."

Hill took part in a discussion Tuesday at the Fletcher School, where Christopher Miller is co-director of Tufts' Russia program.

"I think we've only just begun to think about how bloody, how protracted, how expansive this conflict could be," he said. "I think it's hard to imagine that if Putin does succeed in going further into Ukraine, that that's the end of his wish list. I think it's easy to imagine other places that Putin would like to add to the Russian sphere -- Belarus, Kazakhstan, they'd add a long list of countries."

Meanwhile, a U.S. public that has been grappling with inflation and supply chain issues is considering how the conflict could affect the economy.

The rising price of gas will be one of the most obvious impacts, but experts say it won't be the only one that hits American wallets.

"We will see it in fuels, natural gas, gasoline, also in food prices," said Willy Shih, a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School.

Shih says a lot of people don't realize natural gas is used to make everything from plastics to fertilizer.

"If you use a lot of fertilizer, as farmers in this country use, that's going to affect food prices," he said.

Russia's aggression in Ukraine is expected to have major worldwide economic implications.

And then, there are exports. The largest for Russia and Ukraine are wheat and corn.

"You'll pay more for everything that uses wheat and corn and flour," Shih said.

Experts say this could impact a lot of goods and services whose prices have already gone up.

Sal Lupoli, owner of Sal's Pizza, says he's had to raise his prices for times in the last year. He says he doesn't want to have to raise them again, but with his costs soaring, he's concerned small businesses and their customers will be impacted by the crisis.

"How much can that blue collar worker that comes home and takes care of their family, how much more of a price increase can they absorb? And the answer is, 'Not a whole heck of a lot more,'" Lupoli said.

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