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Are we experiencing WWIII?

By: Timea Horvath

Photo by: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, making it the largest conventional military attack in Europe since World War II. Major Ukrainian cities are being bombarded and more than a million Ukrainians have escaped their home country. Many of us have heard about this but do we truly understand why it is all happening and what consequences will it have on the world?

The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has been preparing for the invasion of Ukraine for a long time and he certainly has his reasoning for it. According to BBC News, last year, President Putin wrote a long piece describing Russians and Ukrainians as “one nation,” and he has described the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 as the “disintegration of historical Russia.”

While Ukrainian and Russian ethnicities are similar in culture and language, they have some important differences. In terms of language Ukrainian has a different alphabet and is linguistically as close to Russian as it is close to Polish. For an untrained Russian speaker, it would be difficult to have a full understanding of the spoken Ukrainian language, even though they sound similar. Some other differences include traditional clothing, food, music, and national character. Just as Canada and the U.S. are different countries, so are Russia and Ukraine.

Ukraine may be overseas; it doesn’t mean the war won’t impact the U.S. Most of us have already noticed some major changes when getting gas for our cars. The prices have gone up dramatically over the last few days, making driving far more expensive than before. This is all happening because Russia is a major exporter of crude oil, accounting for about 12% of the world's supply. Any disruption to those exports is likely to drive prices at the pump higher for consumers.

“Oil currently stands at about $100 a barrel, but if it hits $110, the year-over-year inflation rate would climb above 10%” according to an analysis by RSM shared with CNN. That's up from the current 7.5%. American inflation hasn't climbed to 10% since 1981.

Ukraine is also the world’s fourth-largest producer of corn and wheat, the largest exporter of sunflower seeds, and a leading exporter of barley. The current war will make it difficult for Ukrainian farmers to get seeds in the ground during the coming planting season, obtain the fuel needed to run farm machinery or the fertilizers needed to ensure high crop yields, or succeed in harvesting and shipping their crops. “The potential loss of Ukrainian exports will send global food prices higher, and possibly generate political unrest in countries that depend on grain imports,” shared the Council on Foreign Relations.

What happens in Ukraine, won’t stay in Ukraine. Until the war between Ukraine and Russia ends, we must be prepared for changes in different fields of our lives, especially economically. However, we also need to be grateful that we are safe. Citizens of Ukraine, and even Russia, are going through the most difficult times of their lives, not knowing what the future will bring.

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