LITTLE CHUTE, Wis. (WFRV) – Refugee experts warn the attack on Ukraine has the ability to create a massive humanitarian crisis that will likely pour into surrounding countries.

Claudena Skran, a Lawrence University Economics and Society Professor said, “They experience the trauma, the shock at the moment where they decide to flee a given situation. Then you have the experience of travel which can be a very fraught experience.”

Skran said while refugees often feel relief in their place of asylum there is secondary trauma.

“People confront the fact that now they’re homeless,” said Skran. “They don’t have a job they may be living in a camp facility.”

Military-aged Ukrainian men are being called up to serve meaning many people will not be able to flee.

“I expect that more of the refugees will be women. They will be children. They will be the elderly. They will be people for whatever reason or other will not be involved in military forces,” said Skran.

This conflict has been building over the last eight years with acts of aggression in East Ukraine.

Tracy Slagter, a UWO Political Science Professor said, “Democracy has to be protected and it has to be protected from exactly this type of incursion. From leaders that are willing to do anything to secure their power.”

Slagter said there is no end in sight because Putin’s true motivation is unknown.

“We don’t know what his end game is,” said Slagter. “He’s made a lot of threats and one of those threats was the potential, a veiled threat at least, to use nuclear weapons.”

Slagter said she hopes stronger sanctions against the Russian elite will weaken the country and military in order to bring this to an end.