For Baylor Professor Sergiy Kudelia, what’s unfolding in his native country of Ukraine this week hits close to home.
"Anxiety and apprehension certainly are up significantly," said Kudelia. "Many Ukrainians feel the damage already economically [...] investors are fleeing the country, business is going down.”
Joyful family photos from his last visit show a 180 from the mood in the country today, where a Russian invasion began late Wednesday night under the guise of "protecting" two separatist areas of Eastern Ukraine.
"We are not going to avoid major military confrontation," said Kudelia.
Kudelia is a Baylor political science professor who focuses on anything and everything Ukraine. He spoke to 25 News from Switzerland, where he’s teaching abroad for the semester and finishing a book.
From his vantage point, Russian President Vladamir Putin is playing his hand strategically, while the West and U.S. put forward economic sanctions that won’t do much of anything.
"He doesn’t care at all about those," Kudelia said. "It is clear there is no indication that anyone in his inner circle would be able to object to do what Putin is doing, so really Putin has no constraints.”
Yes, there is the huge expense of amassing nearly 150,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders.
But punishing oligarchs or halting a pipeline aren't top of mind for the former KGB strongman.
"He intends to gain something, to gain some type of strategic advantage," Kudelia said.
President Biden is expected to address the U.S. public Thursday afternoon.