Ukraine conflict stresses retired/active service families

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 8:05 PM EST
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Families of retired and current service members say talks of war bring them stress.

“The stress level is unbelievable. You’re not only trying to be strong because [of] your husband or child, but if you have children you’ve got to be strong for them,” said Bette LaPenta, wife a retired marine, mother of a retired naval sailor, and grandmother of a 1st Sgt. in the Marine Corps.

Christy Pastor, wife of a retired Marine, agrees with LaPenta’s sentiment.

“It’s scary. It’s difficult, but you have to be in the now, in the know,” she said.

The reason for the current fears of U.S. military conflict? The Pentagon is putting about 8,500 U.S.-based troops on heightened alert for potential deployment to Europe after rising fears of a possible Russian military action on Ukraine.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Monday no final decisions have been made on deployments, which he said would happen only if the NATO alliance decides to activate a rapid response force “or if other situations develop.”

Experts estimate there are close to 100,000 Russian troops near the Ukraine border. Russia is demanding that NATO make a promise that Ukraine will never be allowed to join the organization.

Dr. Armin Krishnan, East Carolina University political science professor and foreign policy expert, says he feels war is unlikely due to several European countries in NATO having a dependence on Russian resources.

“In particular Germany has become heavily dependent on Russian gas and if there was a war obviously they would be cut off. Europe would also suffer more from the economic repercussions of a war with Russia,” Krishnan said.

“Russia,” he continued, “has given the vast clear red line so they will not tolerate the NATO membership of Ukraine and they will not tolerate the presence of foreign troops in Ukraine. So as long as that doesn’t happen, the Russians will not invade.”

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