Now that Russia has ordered troops to Ukraine amid escalating worries of an invasion, many are paying attention to the next steps and how the conflict could impact them.
"We’re part of the community, and this is going to affect us all," one Chicago-area resident told NBC 5. "I think we should keep an eye on it, and I pray for the best."
William Muck, a professor of political science at North Central College in Naperville, says the latest developments will be a test of U.S. leadership.
"Hearing Putin today and seeing these actions, it feels like Russia and Ukraine are moving towards war," Muck said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine on Monday, just hours after he formally recognized the independence of two Moscow-backed breakaway regions in the eastern part of the country.
Putin framed the troop movement as a “peacekeeping” effort in both regions. His decision to recognize both regions was seen by the U.S. and its European allies as a dramatic provocation and part of a pretext to invade Ukraine, and it led to the U.S. and the European Union to announce sanctions targeting the two areas.
Geopolitical experts say war in Ukraine could impact Americans' daily living, including the price at the pump, cost of heating homes and the stock market.
"There’s definitely going to be an economic impact, and you’re absolutely right to say that gas prices are going to go up, and the global economy as a whole is gonna have a hiccup," Muck said. "This is a dramatic development. If war breaks out in Europe, it’s gonna hit all of our pocketbooks."
The political science professor says it's time to ask yourself if you want to live in a world where tanks cross borders and what role should the U.S. play to improve peace and stability?
"If you have tanks crossing European borders, that’s not something that’s happened in the 21st century. That’s something that happened in the 20th century, and we saw the war and destruction of the 20th century. So it’s a big deal."
The threat of higher energy prices is real, government officials have said, but President Biden's administration has stated that it's taking steps to blunt the impact.