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TTU’s Michael Gunter: Russian-Ukraine Conflict Appears Imminent, But Not Too Late To Avoid

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
TTU’s Michael Gunter: Russian-Ukraine Conflict Appears Imminent, But Not Too Late To Avoid

Conflict between Russia and Ukraine appears imminent, but it’s not too late to avoid it.

That’s according to Tennessee Tech Sociology and Political Science Professor Dr. Michael Gunter. He said that he believes that the conflict will not be marked by some full-scale invasion, but rather by a slow takeover.

“It would be something infiltration, occupying part of the country, maybe getting more favorable pro-Russian government into power,” Gunter said. “And stuff like that where you might be hard to put your finger on, ‘this is the word ‘go” for NATO.”

Gunter said that if Russian President Vladimir Putin crosses a line, the United States will likely put very strict sanctions on Russia as punishment. However, he said that with Russia’s economy already not doing well, how effective these sanctions remain to be seen.

Gunter said that the tension goes back to Ukraine splitting from Russia. He said that he equates the situation to if California seceded from the United States and the U.S. wanted it back.

“This is not entirely one on one, but if somehow Califonia broke off from the United States, we would like to reincorporate it in a stronger moment and that’s the way the Russians feel,” Gunter said, “And California, we took away from Mexico 150 years ago. Mother Russia, in many ways, began in what is now Ukraine. That was medieval Russia, the tartars conquered it around 1200 and destroyed that Russia. And a new Russia grew up around Moscow and is Russia now. But it’s always been seen that Ukraine is part of Russia in the grander scheme of things, and that’s the way the Russians feel. And there is truth to that, there are a lot of affinities between Ukrainians and Russians.”

Gunter said that on the other hand, there are several reasons why Ukraine does not like Russia. He said that as they are now an independent state under international law, he does not believe this is the right way for Russia to try and reincorporate Ukraine.

“This is not just rumor-mongering,” Gunter said. “As you know, in 2014, the Russians did invade Ukraine–the annexed Crimea, which was a violation of international law. Although they did have a claim on Crimea, I think the Russians should have pursued that claim peacefully instead of violently.”

Gunter said that currently, the Russians are funding a Russian settler uprising in eastern Ukraine. He said that he believes this is what Putin will use to invade Ukraine, citing a desire to put an end to the uprising.

Gunter said that at the end of the day, no one wants war in Europe. He said that he believes there is a lot of room for compromise between the nations.


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