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If Russia invades Ukraine, this could be the largest war in Europe since 1945

Rep. Sara Jacobs says there is unity among NATO allies that there should be severe consequences if Russia invades Ukraine.

SAN DIEGO — If Russia does in fact invade Ukraine, this could be the largest war in Europe since 1945.

It’s been more than 70 years since World War II. University of California San Diego professor of political science Erik Gartzke says this could be on par if Russian President Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine. 

"Ukrainians live with a heightened tension everyday and part of their country has already been invaded and occupied by Russian forces," said Gartzke. 

Ukraine and Russia have been in conflict since 2014. Slowly building tension. 

U.S. Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA) visited Ukraine just a few weeks ago.

Jacobs was part of a Congressional delegation that made trips to Brussels and Kiev, meeting with Ukrainian government leaders to discuss security matters and reinforce U.S. support. 

"There is real unity among the partners and allies in Europe there's a clear sense that there needs to be severe consequences if Vladimir Putin does decide to invade Ukraine," said Jacobs.

Beyond that, Jacobs says she was surprised to see one other thing while on her trip in Ukraine. 

"How unified the Ukrainian people seemed whether they were Ukrainian or Russian speakers. Regardless of what part of the country they were from, every single person I talked to were going to stand up to Russian aggression," said Jacobs.

After meeting with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Jacobs says Zelensky is well aware an invasion may happen.

"Part of what they see as standing up to Putin is having this resilience and not having him dictate their everyday lives," said Jacobs. 

President Biden has ordered 3,000 additional solders to Poland. On top of the 1,700 who are on their way there. 

The U.S. Army also shifted 1,000 soldiers from Germany to Romania. Both countries share a border with Ukraine 

Unfortunately, it isn't likely Putin will back down.

"He’s so deeply imbedded in this strategy it’s very hard to not look like he’s running away with his tail between his legs and I don’t think Putin constitutionally is capable of doing that," said Gartzke.

The pentagon has also started moving some of its forces out of Ukraine.  And Americans living there have been urged to leave.

Keep in mind, no combat forces will be in Ukraine and are not expected if the invasion does happen. 

Gartzke says U.S. Navy ships based in San Diego will spend more time at sea, which may mean families here will have to wait longer to see their loved ones.

WATCH RELATED: 'We're on the brink of the largest war in Europe since 1945' (Feb. 2022).

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