IPFW Professor And U.S. Senator From Hoosier State Weigh In On Ukraine Crisis

By Jeff Neumeyer

March 4, 2014 Updated Mar 4, 2014 at 6:54 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- The U.S. needs to let Russia know that its armed intervention in Ukraine is unacceptable and that there is a price to pay for it.

Those comments were made Tuesday by Republican U.S. Senator Dan Coats from Indiana.

The senator told 21 Alive News that the idea of Russian troops being sent in to the Crimea region of Ukraine, and taking control there, is a violation of international law and that economic sanctions should be enforced against President Vladimir Putin and his government.

Russian President Putin denies claims that his country's troops are in Ukraine, but he has said the revolution ousting Ukraine's president amounts to an "anti-constitutional coup and armed seizure of power."

Should the United States get involved in a conflict far from our borders?

We spoke with an IPFW Russian History professor about the subject, getting her read on whether putting pressure on Putin is a bad idea, or whether the real risk is in being passive in our response.

" History has shown that being able to get away with something will most likely mean that he feels empowered to be able to do more," said Associate Professor Ann Livschiz, who has a Ph.D. in Russian and Soviet History.

“We need to squeeze them in economic ways and through sanctions, perhaps withdrawing our ambassador and our consulates," said Senator Coats.

Could sanctions spark a backlash and deteriorating relations with Russia?

It certainly could worsen feelings between the two world powers, especially on a short-term basis.

Coats says the good thing from our perspective is that Russia is not the military force it once was.

Plus, he says new discoveries of oil and gas supplies here in our country mean we are less dependent on foreign oil, making us less vulnerable to any economic retaliation from Russia.

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