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Ukraine & Russia Conflict: Potential impacts on Nebraska

Nebraska farmers have already dealt with things like higher prices for fertilizer and fuel, which could go up more as the conflict goes on.
Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 10:16 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 25, 2022 at 9:59 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - As conflict is underway between Ukraine and Russia in eastern Europe, back here in Nebraska it’s leaving many unanswered questions.

Nebraska economic experts said the sanctions imposed by the United States are targeting top Russian officials by doing things like halting oil supplies and freezing financial transactions.

An economist we spoke with at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said while they’re aimed at stopping the Russians, the ripple effect will ultimately reach world supply chains.

“Sanctions look like they’re targeting specifically trying to constrain Russian activity,” said Brad Lubben, an extension agricultural economist and policy specialist at UNL. “But the broader conflict creates uncertainty, disrupts trade flows, adds new risks, and potentially impedes continued economic growth.

Lubben said Nebraska farmers have already dealt with things like higher prices for fertilizer and fuel, which could go up more as the conflict goes on.

“More shock on top of many,” he said. “This is one more shock and it really could even further damage the economic prospects for agriculture.”

Nebraska’s elected leaders are learning in real-time what’s happening as well. They tell 10/11 NOW, through classified briefings that ramped up recently, they had a feeling this would happen.

Here’s part of what they had to say:

“Looking ahead at our work with our NATO allies we have an obligation as a member of NATO under Article 5 to provide for the defense of those countries so I think you’re going to be seeing more American troops moving into the baltic, moving into Poland and other countries,” said Senator Deb Fischer.

“Ukraine is not a NATO member Ukraine has struggled to build out capacity I was very supportive of sending them lethal weaponry I think that’s helped create some capacity in the last few years they’ve been able to gather some type of nationalistic will if you will,” said Representative Jeff Fortenberry. “And build out a better military that’s why they’re somewhat resisting the Russians I don’t think they can fully hold out but they have put up some resistance and that’s important but to put US troops there no I don’t think Americans want that I don’t think Nebraskans want that, and I don’t stand for that.”

“We should arm the Ukrainians to the teeth we should provide them with all the intelligence they need,” said Senator Ben Sasse. “We should hit Putin and his cronies with every single financial and economic sanction that we’ve got we should bankrupt them make it so the only thing they have left is the cash they hide under their mattresses.”

Right now, a bipartisan letter, which includes Rep. Fortenberry’s support, is making the rounds. It urges President Biden to follow constitutional procedure and receive authorization from Congress before involving U.S. forces in any way in the ongoing conflict.

Rep. Fortenberry said Nebraskans can expect to see gas and fertilizer prices increase and this is why we need an "American-made energy strategy."

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