Local residents queue to receive food and humanitarian aid in Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Freezing residents of an eastern Ukraine town battered by an upsurge in fighting between government troops and Russia-backed rebels flocked to a humanitarian aid center Wednesday to receive food and warm up. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Local residents queue to receive food and humanitarian aid in Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Freezing residents of an eastern Ukraine town battered by an upsurge in fighting between government troops and Russia-backed rebels flocked to a humanitarian aid center Wednesday to receive food and warm up. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

EDITORIAL: Russia-Ukraine conflict affects the whole world

The entire world is uneasily watching as the tensions continue to unfold

The Russia-Ukraine conflict that began last week is half a world away from us in British Columbia, but it touches many in this province and in this country.

Conflicts between Russia and Ukraine have been ongoing since 2014, but tensions have escalated over the past year. On Feb. 24, Russia launched a military invasion into Ukraine. Almost immediately, leaders from around the world condemned this action as unprovoked and unjustified. Many nations have been imposing sanctions against Russia.

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The rest of the world is uneasily watching as the tensions continue to unfold. For the 1.36 million Canadians of Ukrainian descent – the third-largest Ukrainian population in the world – and the 622,000 Russian-Canadians, this conflict has a deeply personal significance.

It also affects the rest of the Canadian population, as well as the rest of the world.

Russia has the world’s fourth largest military, and the nation is also in possession of nuclear weapons. Any armed conflict involving a nation with this degree of military power has the potential to result in absolute disaster for all involved. This alone means the Russia-Ukraine conflict is a global concern.

Military conflicts also have economic repercussions, and this present war and the resulting sanctions have affected world stock markets. Russia is a major economic force, and sanctions against that country are already having global repercussions.

Fuel prices in Canada have already jumped dramatically since the invasion began. Russia is an exporter of oil and gas and Canada imports some Russian oil. Higher fuel prices do not just affect motorists, but also show themselves in increased transportation costs and higher prices of food and goods for customers.

In the longer term, extended sanctions against Russia could result in new trade alliances and new balances of global power.

At present, Russia has the world’s 11th-largest economy. If sanctions against Russia continue for an extended time, global trade alliances will shift.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict is happening far from us in Canada, but the effects can be felt here and around the world.

– Black Press

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