Impact Of The Ukrainian Crisis Felt In Central Ohio


“It's scary for me only because of the people I know," says Ohio State junior Seamus Kelleher.  “My heart is in Ukraine right now.”

Kelleher says he feels for the families of the dozens killed in Kiev more than a week ago and is horrified of the images of Russian troops in his adopted country in what he calls is an act of war.

He says the people in Ukraine are unified.  “Some people are willing to die for something bigger than them."

OSU Political Science Department Chair Dr. Richard Herrmann says what's happening in Ukraine is very complex.   The focus is not so much on Russia, he says, but the trigger of Russia responding to its interests after the collapse of the Ukrainian government.

"Finger wagging and escalating the rhetoric, isn't going to make Putin change his mind, and isn't going to make him move his forces back out," Herrmann says. 

Herrmann equates this to a very delicate chess game, one he believes the American government has not even started playing yet. 

"What's our fourth, fifth, sixth move, where's this going to go?  Putin is doing that," Herrmann added.

Herrmann says military force against Putin is unlikely, because too many other European nations are too close geographically and dependent on Russia for many goods and services.

He doubts economic sanctions will work. 

"We're making assertions about what we could do, in this fictional, idealized world that Obama is not doing supposedly, that we really can't do.  What really could we do?” Herrmann asks.

For Seamus Kelleher, he says it essentially comes down to “living in a democracy and away from bullies in Russia.”

The question is at what cost - and how many Ukrainians will buy into that idea in the weeks and months to come.

Kelleher says he's optimistic a unified vote will happen with elections scheduled in May.

Depending on the outcome, Herrmann says the Russian government may use its own economic sanctions against the new Ukrainian government.

Dr. Herrmann says in the meantime, the United States should do whatever it can to prevent a civil war in the Ukraine.

In reality, he says the American government will likely only be able to watch and wait from the sidelines.