How the conflict in Ukraine will impact local communities

As Russian forces move forward with their invasion of Ukraine, local experts say global ramifications to the supply chain as well as raising fuel prices are bound to impact the greater Springfield area.

In addition, military installations such as the Ohio Air National Guard base in Springfield could shift responsibilities to support intelligence operations in Eastern Europe, Christian Raffensperger, a Wittenberg University professor who is an expert on Russian and Ukrainian history.

Russia deployed its troops into Ukraine this week, with troops entering the north, south and east of the country. As the conflict escalates and the international community responds with outrage and sanctions, it is bound to have global ramifications on trade.

The trickle down impact that will have on the greater Springfield area will mostly come in the form of inflation of a variety of goods as well as rise in gas prices, Raffensperger said.

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Local manufacturers may be burdened by increased strain on an already existing supply shortage that has been caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The extent of those impacts on local businesses, especially manufacturing operations, will be hard to determine. But, Horton Hobbs, the vice president of economic development for the Greater Springfield Partnership said, “certainly, any major conflict like this sends shocks through the markets and disrupts pricing on commodities such as oil.”

“Those disruptions have a potential to create local impact depending on the duration of the conflict,” Hobbs added.

Raffensperger said that “because many people in the international markets did not expect this to actually happen, what we have seen is oil prices shoot up well over $100 a barrel, which is a high for recent times.”

Higher gas prices will further complicate things, especially as we are still seeing the height of a global shipping crisis, he said.

“That will complicate all the shipping and raise cost on getting components to factories so they can build all the things that they need,” he added.

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Other consequences relate to the rise in prices on a variety of goods that can impact local pocket books, especially during a time of inflation spurred by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“The fact that we live in a global economy, this is going to have an (impact) on the pocket book of people living in Ohio,” Raffensperger said of the conflict in Urkraine.

The war could potentially impact the Springfield Air National Guard base as well, given the fact that drones are operated there for intelligence gathering in that part of the world, Raffensperger added.

However, the base’s 178th Wing is supporting other missions outside of the developing Ukrainian conflict, said Capt. Courtney Slater, the unit’s spokesperson.

“The 178th has a variety of capabilities to support our national defense interests via combat and surveillance functions,” she said. “Our airmen are trained and ready to support NATO and our allies when called upon by the president.”

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