Ukraine-Russia conflict: Sanctions won’t immediately stop Putin’s plans, says UC Berkeley economist

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) — Nataliia Goshylyk calls loved ones twice a day, at least, to check in and make sure they’re safe.

“Nobody’s really doing well right now, but at least they’re trying to stay safe,” she said. “They’re in shelters, they’re hiding in their basements and they’re just trying to find a safe place to spend the night.”

Russian troops have settled in his hometown in northwestern Ukraine. She has cousins ​​who are now fighting in the Ukrainian defense. She says it’s a scary time for her.

“It’s hard not knowing sometimes,” she said. “My biggest fear is waking up and not hearing from my family and not knowing where they are.”

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She is currently a Fulbright Scholar at UC Berkeley. She plans to return to Ukraine this summer and hopes peace will be restored by then. However, she and others fear this is just the start of more Russian attacks.

“It’s a battlefront now in Ukraine, but it’s going to shift to other countries,” said Yuriy Gorodnichenko, a UC Berkeley economics professor who moved to Ukraine in the early 2000s.

He thinks sanctions imposed by other countries are good long-term options, but they will not immediately stop the fighting, nor stop Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans.

“Imagine your bank calling you and saying we’re going to cancel your credit card. It’s inconvenient, but will it fundamentally change your behavior? Not really,” he said. .

VIDEO: Where is Ukraine? A brief overview of one of the largest and poorest countries in Europe

The biggest penalty to date came on Saturday. The United States and other countries have cut Russia off from SWIFT – the international financial system that allows global banks to exchange money. Gorodnichenko says this could have the biggest financial impact on Russia.

“Pulling Russia out of SWIFT is a step in the right direction because we must not use the international financial system to fund war,” he said.

However, he and Goshylyk fear that Putin will go ahead with the invasion regardless of other sanctions imposed.

“It’s very possible,” Goshylyk said when asked about Russia’s invasion of other countries. “Belarus, Poland, the Baltic nations, it’s a scary time, and it can happen.”

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