SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had strong words about the war in Ukraine, saying "Russia bears ultimate responsibility for this incident."
His words refer to the missile that recently killed two people on a Polish farm. Now, top Pentagon officials hope to ease tensions after early suggestions that missile might have been fired by Russia. The U.S. believes that the missile came from a Ukrainian defense system.
For the local Ukrainian community in Sacramento, the fighting hits close to home even as they watch the war from afar.
"If the whole world gives better support, air defense, Putin will understand the language of the power and there's no way he can go further than Ukraine," said Vlad Skots, chairman of Ukrainian House Sacramento.
He said if Putin won't be stopping Ukraine, they could go to Poland.
While that remains uncertain, recent Russian attacks on Ukraine's power grids and water systems have left much of the country in the dark. These are attacks that the Ukrainian community in Sacramento are watching very closely.
"It's getting worse - Putin playing this long term war," said Skots.
It's a war with far reaching impacts. Joel Blank, a political science professor at San Joaquin Delta College, said international conflicts impact people every day.
"It's not like we can just basically go back to fortress America. I mean, America depends on its prosperity with trading with the world," said Blank. "Europe really is essential to American security to American prosperity."
That's a concept international experts can't stress enough.
"If I was President (Joe) Biden, I would make it very clear that we're still not going to have troops on the ground, that we're going to avoid any kind of direct confrontation with Russia, that this is a localized war, in which you have Russia invading Ukraine, that Ukraine is a country that wants and deserves independence," said Blank.
As the fight continues, local Ukrainians keep watching and hoping from afar.
"We are very grateful, especially here in Sacramento. We have very big support for the local community," said Skots.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is pledging to increase air defense support to Ukraine, while providing equipment to help repair Ukraine's energy grid before winter arrives.