Tensions continue to rise between Russia and Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk, two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, as independent on Monday.
The United States and the European Union responded by saying they would impose sanctions amid escalating fears of a Russian invasion.
Victoria resident Rost Glek, who moved to Canada from Ukraine in 1996, said he doesn’t want a war to break out as he fears for the safety of his family back home.
“We all worry about families. Our people back in Ukraine,” he said.
“Bloodshed, that’s my biggest fear,” he added.
With thousands of Russian troops gathered along its borders and after eight years of conflict with the country, experts say Ukraine is preparing for a possible full-scale invasion that could happen any day now.
“We are waiting for the war to start. I’m sorry to say that,” said Serhy Yekelchyk, a Slavic studies and history professor at the University of Victoria.
“But in a way, I’m also relieved that this is going to be a war which everybody is going to know about before it starts,” he continued.
He said that the conflict between the two countries is significant and one that everyone should be concerned about.
“It is not about Ukraine. It is about democracy. It is about western values. So this conflict, although will be fought by Ukrainians, it’s actually about something major. Something global,” Yekelchy explained.
Many in the local Ukrainian community are glued to their TVs and devices, including Glek, anxiously watching for any updates back home.
He said he feels helpless not knowing what’s going to happen to his loved ones.
“They are terrified. They are really terrified,” he said.
But Yekelchy said Ukraine is prepared to go to war, especially with the world watching.
“This army is actually quite strong and battle-hardened, and it’s prepared to engage Russians. And I have to say this army has been waiting also for that moment,” he said.
He also said the war may not last long if the West provides Ukraine moral and financial support.