NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Families in Connecticut are on pins and needles waiting for word from their loved ones in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden announced Tuesday the U.S. was ordering heavy financial sanctions against Russian banks and oligarchs, declaring that Moscow had violated international law in what he called the “beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Olena Lennon, Ph.D., is an adjunct professor of Political Science and National Security at the University of New Haven who has immediate family in eastern Ukraine. She told News 8 her family is okay at the moment but that they’ve already started to see civilian casualties in the area.

Lennon said her family has lived in war scares in eastern Ukraine for the last eight years. That’s why so many Ukrainians already have their plans in place. Some are deciding to stay with emergency supplies at the ready while others evacuate.

Lennon said war crimes are already happening. They are not allowing men under a certain age to leave.

“They are not letting men under 50 evacuate,” Lennon said. “So, basically what’s going on now is forced mobilization, and it’s a war crime to have occupied populations being forced to fight on behalf of the occupier. I know one of the first signs of things going particularly bad is when power supplies are going to be affected, and they lose internet. I fully anticipate that is likely to happen soon.”

While Lennon’s family is deeply impacted by this, all Americans are affected due to a spike in gas prices and trouble in the stock market.

Lennon also stressed after seeing what’s happening, it is vital not to take democracy for granted.