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Local experts weigh in on Russian invading Ukraine and what it means for the U.S.

Two experts explain why Russia invaded Ukraine and what this means for cybersecurity in the U.S.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — After Russia invaded Ukraine, many were left with questions regarding why it happened and what it means for the U.S.

Dr. Thomas Porter is a professor of Russian history at North Carolina A&T. He said he has been studying Russian history and politics since the beginning of his career. He has lived in Russia and taught there for a semester.

Why did Russia invade Ukraine?

Dr. Porter said Putin is trying to reintegrate former parts of the Soviet Union into the Russian Federation. He already has 20% of Georgia and according to Dr. Porter, Putin used the same playbook there as he is now using in Ukraine.

He also said even though Putin knows Ukraine is not up for membership with NATO or the EU, Putin doesn't want to see a free and independent country at Russia's borders.

"He has said many times that Ukraine is not a country. That in fact these are Russians and they do not have the right to sovereignty," Dr. Porter said.

Why is this happening now?

Dr. Porter said Putin believes NATO to be weak and saw it as an opportunity.

"I think he thought with all the divisions in this country, in particular, that this is the time that the correlation of forces was such that he could pull this off and that it might not be so bad and we might not stand firm as the western alliance has and inflict serious and significant punishment on his economy," Dr Porter said.

What does this mean for the U.S.?

Dr. Porter said he believes gas prices will continue to go up as Russia is one of the largest oil producers in the world. Russia is dependent on the oil they can sell and because Germany ended the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as part of economic sanctions, Russia can no longer sell it. That means less supply and higher prices.

It could also mean cyberwar for the world. Experts are warning to be on alert as Russian cyber security attacks could be part of the invasion.

Ron Pierce, president of Trinity Solutions, said his cybersecurity business is already seen an uptick in callers as companies prioritize keeping their tech systems up and running.

Pierce said he thinks we will definitely see some kind of cyber attack happen whether it be from the Russians or other bad guys trying to take advantage of the situation.

He said this is not a drill. This is a warning to make sure systems are up to date and he said the free stuff isn't going to cut it for companies.

"Now is the time to be diligent and from a company's stand point, now is the time, if you haven't been checking on your systems and security, now would be a very good time to be doing that," Pierce said.

Pierce said his company offers free assessments that can look into a company's software and point out their weaknesses.

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