BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — There is a lot going on with Ukraine, including how this impacts the neighboring countries, NATO, and America going forward.
We spoke with the Chair of Political Science at Cal State Bakersfield about the situation.
“Ukraine has always been very important to Russia historically; this is where you have ‘Peter the Great’ more than 300 years ago deciding that this region was going to become an important part of Russia’s geostrategic picture.”
Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered forces into two separatist regions in Ukraine. The move came after he recognized the independence of those regions which allowed for Russian troops to enter.
Dr. Mark Martinez, Chair of Political Science at Cal State Bakersfield, said historically Ukraine has always been important for Russia, which explains the move.
“Ukraine has been very, very important just strategically. Today it stands as one of its access points to the seas. For years Russia had no access points to the seas, for years Russia had no access through Caribbean and Ukraine, Russia was able to gain access to the seas.”
With fears of a Russian invasion continuing to escalate Martinez believes this is something the U.S., as allies to Ukraine, can manage.
“This is going to take a good deal of diplomacy. I think we’re going to see some deals we may not see out in the open, I think we’re probably going to lean on Turkey tonight, and I think we are also going to leaning on our European partners. I think this is a tight rope at the moment, but I think this is something that the United States along with its European partners can handle.”
He says while the U.S. will be dealing with this tension for months, it’s critical to understand this is something that Russia has done historically.
“We don’t want to look at it at it and say they Putin all of a sudden is being aggressive. This is something that we’ve been using all the way back to ‘Peter the Great’ more than 300 years ago, we don’t want to get overblown about this and say Putin is getting irrational. This is not irrational; this is something that the Russians have done for well over 300 years. Looking at that entire region as their backyard, if we look at it in that context, it will help us understand what’s going to be happening over the next few months.”