TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — An Indiana State University professor who is an expert on Russia and Ukraine says the two countries are very different.

Dr. Barbara Skinner said Ukraine is pro-Democracy, pro-west and pro-“Freedom of the Press,” whereas Russia is not. Because of this, Skinner said Ukraine left the Soviet Union in 1991 and became its own country.

Skinner added that for the last 30 years, Ukraine has enjoyed its independence. She said that there is a rules-based international order that most countries follow, but that Vladimir Putin’s invasion is not following what is normal.

“So, this goes beyond the region,” Skinner said. “It’s a global threat to how the world has been operating since the second World War, and that’s why people need to pay attention. And then there’s the human element. Normal civilians in Ukraine are suffering.”

Dr. Skinner said she has friends living in Ukraine and that she hopes something can be done to stop Putin.

Skinner added that these struggles have been in the making for a long time, as many Russians felt Ukraine was a big loss to Russia when it left the Soviet Union. Ukraine has strong industrial and agriculture sectors.

Professor Skinner said the United States needs to stand up for those whose values we agree on.