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Three things to know about the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Experts say the Russian invasion of Ukraine will have impacts on the United States from gas prices to cybersecurity threats.

KYIV, Ukraine — Experts are warning about the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the United States and native-Ukrainians now living in North Carolina are concerned for their relatives and friends. 

"I think that the worst feeling is kind of being useless because there's nothing I can do to help, there's nothing I can do to change," said Irena Reed, who moved to the United States from Ukraine 18 years ago.

Gas prices are expected to rise

Russia is a major exporter of crude oil and experts warn that the ongoing conflict could cause gas prices to spike. 

"The immediate impact will be gas prices," said Dr. Thomas Porter, a professor of Russian history at North Carolina A&T University. "I'm very impressed that Germany stepped up immediately and ended the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project which Russia desperately needs because Russia is basically a gas station with nuclear weapons. They are dependent on the oil they can sell and now they can't sell it."

Russia is also an exporter of other products, including metals and agricultural products so the conflict would also make current supply chain issues worse. 

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina said the rise in gas prices, and potentially food prices, could have an impact on their work. They deliver food and supplies to 18 different counties across northwest North Carolina. They have a $200,000 fuel budget annually for their 11 vehicles. 

"When those prices go up It impacts us and (...) we are prepared, but we continue to need the resources from the community to make sure we can continue to be responsive and have these funds to be able to pay for fuel, the higher price of food, and everything in between that all families are facing," said Eric Aft, the CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of North Carolina. "We know that there are a lot of families who are struggling to put food on the table and so we can’t stop, we can’t take a minute off to be able to figure things out. We need to be thinking forward and I think our team has done a good job."

RELATED: 'Eventually, I’ll have to raise prices' | Small businesses in the Triad hit hard by rising gas prices

Cybersecurity attacks could happen

Cybersecurity attacks could be another effect of the conflict.

"You are going to see more malware, ransomware attacks in this time," said Ron Pierce, the owner of Trinity Solutions. "You are going to get more emails that are infected, websites that are infected during this."

Pierce said the attacks will likely be inconvenient but not catastrophic. 

"I don't think you're going to see it get escalated to a full cyberwar where countries are attacking infrastructure," Pierce said. "Quite honestly, for most countries, that's a (September 11) event, that's major when you go after grids, power grids, banking, utilities."

RELATED: Local experts weigh in on Russian invading Ukraine and what it means for the U.S.

Will the U.S. get involved?

President Biden said Thursday that the U.S. will not send troops to fight in Ukraine, but will defend NATO territories. The U.S. has also issued economic sanctions on Russia.

The conflict though is still hitting home for people like Irena Reed.

"I was getting text messages from my friends and relatives that Ukraine was attacked and there were a lot of bombs dropped on major cities of Ukraine like Kyiv and Kharkiv, my hometown and the second-largest city in Ukraine and the city is also on the border of Russia," Reed said.

Reed said those she knows are scared.

"They woke up at 5:30 AM from bombing," said Reed. "They were all shocked, they didn’t expect it even though this conflict has been going on in Ukraine since 2014. However, nobody believed that this may happen and I didn’t want to believe in my heart that it was going to be to that extent."

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