Washington County VA

Local woman connected to Crimea

EMORY, Va. - Russian action in the Ukraine could have global impacts.

University of Virginia-Wise political science professor Eric Drummond Smith says the geography in the situation is crucial and could have other super powers getting involved.

But for some, it is hitting home. Yuliya Rigg is an admissions counselor at Emory & Henry College. She was born in the Ukraine and lived there until 1998. Her brother still lives in the Crimea region of the country.

"It's a little complicated. He's in the Russian military just because of where we used to live, it used to be part of Russia. It was given to the Ukraine as a gift from Russia, like as a peace offering, and so that's where he lives now, but he's part of the Russian Ukraine, part of the southeastern part of Ukraine," Rigg says.

Some people living in Crimea still identify with their Soviet roots as Russians.

"I believe that it's kind of their own thing. They'll figure it out, even if it is dividing the Ukraine by, I don't think that it's going to be one or the other, I think it's going to be divided. It already is kind of divided," Rigg says.

Smith says this might be the new age of war.

"There haven't been shots fired, but land has been taken very openly. So it's very 21st century, post-nuclear age conflict."

According to Smith, United States needs to be careful before getting involved in the post-Cold War era.

"We're not what you would call a full ally, but at the end of the Cold War when the Ukraine decided it was willingly going to turn over its nuclear weapon supply which it had inherited from the Soviet Union, the US basically made some pledges to guarantee Ukrainian defense," Smith says.

Rigg says the countries have a deep history. She thinks they will be able to figure the situation out on their own.

"There's a lot of history behind Russia and the Ukraine and the Soviet Union. They just want the best out of the both countries. Sometimes the way they try to resolve conflict is not the right way, but they are trying to do what's right for the people," Rigg says.

Eric Drummond Smith has been following the conflict on his blog. You can read it here: http://www.askapoliticalscientist.com/.

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