North Dakota Family Pleads to Get Farmer Out of Ukraine

OMAHA (DTN) — With heightened tensions over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, a North Dakota family is pleading with the Biden administration not to leave behind a farmer who has been stuck in a Ukrainian jail cell since November.

“As Americans head for the exits in Ukraine, one citizen is stuck in legal limbo and he needs the Biden administration to ensure he’s not left behind,” wrote Kristi Magnusson about her brother on Thursday in the Bismarck (North Dakota) Tribune.

The prospect of war in Ukraine remains high after Russian officials declared there was “little cause for optimism,” following positions taken by the U.S. and NATO allies. The U.S. embassy in Ukraine has urged U.S. citizens to depart the country.

Kurt Groszhans, 50, of Ashley, North Dakota, continues to be held in detention by Ukrainian courts after he was arrested in mid-November and accused of plotting to assassinate Ukraine’s minister for Agrarian Policy and Food, Roman Leshchenko, who was briefly a business partner of Groszhans. After a Ukrainian court ordered 60 days of detention following Groszhans’ arrest, a three-judge panel earlier this month ruled he should remain in detention until his trial begins. Groszhans’ next court hearing is set for Feb. 13.

Ukrainian prosecutors have charged Groszhans with attempted murder, attempted extortion and attempted kidnapping. The Ukrainian National Police allege to have recordings of Groszhans’ former assistant, Olena Bogach, meeting with people who turned out to be police informants. These recordings claim to be discussing how to get money from Leshchenko and how to potentially kidnap him, according to Groszhans’ attorney, who spoke to CBS News.

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