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UM professor discusses invasion of Ukraine, shares personal experiences

Clint Walker
Ukraine Explosion
Ukraine Soldiers
Posted at 3:43 PM, Feb 25, 2022

MISSOULA — President Biden held a phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky on Friday as enemy forces move closer to the capital.

The Biden Administration now says it will join Europe in sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials say they're fighting on multiple fronts to repel a "full-scale invasion" that is having worldwide impacts.

MTN News talked with a University of Montana professor who put the situation into context while also sharing his own personal experiences.

"Ukraine is really a battleground right now,” observed UM Russian language professor Clint Walker.

Death and destruction in Ukraine continued Friday following the Russian invasion with Walker noting, “this goes back thousands of years.”

Clint Walker
University of Montana Russian language professor Clint Walker

The impacts of the conflict are being felt close to home, “Russia is still geographically the largest country in the world. It controls very many resources,” Walker said.

"It's number one in timber, timber reserves, freshwater reserves. It's very high -- gas, gasoline. "It has the highest reserves of natural gas of any country if I'm remembering right."

"I've pretty much watched Putin develop through his whole trajectory and political career,” Walker added.

Ukraine Explosion

He helped to put things in context for us, “Putin's grandfather had been the personal cook for Vladimir Lenon and for Stalin."

Walker also has close ties to the country's history, “I was in the Soviet Union in 89/90 as one of the first American exchange students allowed to spend a full year in the Soviet Union."

He recalls his time abroad following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall, “I remember standing once for bread and getting to the front of the line, and they had run out."

Walker says so much has led up to this moment in history.

Ukraine Soldiers

"It's all very complicated, and there are geopolitical factors involved and there are historical factors involved -- factors related to identity. The factor of language is fundamental."

Today’s events are as complex as history with Walker acknowledging this as a tragedy.

"I think there's fault on a lot of different sides. What's going on now is horrendous -- the innocent lives that are going to be lost in this whole situation,” Walker concluded.