AP

Senators say North Dakota farmer detained in Ukraine is home

Oct 21, 2022, 12:42 AM | Updated: 3:56 pm

FILE - This image provided by Kristi Magnusson shows Kurt Groszhans in one of his fields in Ukraine...

FILE - This image provided by Kristi Magnusson shows Kurt Groszhans in one of his fields in Ukraine in July 2021. Groszhans, a North Dakota farmer who had been detained in Ukraine since November 2021 on accusations that he planned to kill his business partner, is back home, the state's two U.S. senators announced Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. (Kristi Magnusson via AP, File)

(Kristi Magnusson via AP, File)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota farmer who had been detained in Ukraine since November 2021 on accusations he planned to kill his business partner is back home, the state’s two U.S. senators announced Friday.

Kurt Groszhans, from Ashley, North Dakota, has ancestors from Ukraine and went there to farm in 2017. The relationship with his partner, law professor Roman Leshchenko, crumbled after Groszhans alleged that Leshchenko embezzled money from him.

Groszhans and his assistant were arrested on charges of plotting to assassinate Leshchenko, who was then Ukraine’s agriculture minister. Groszhans said in a statement Friday that the Ukrainian officials made up the charges in an “effort to shut me up” after he discovered corruption “at the highest levels” of the government.

“I am grateful to be home after this horrible ordeal,” Groszhans said in a statement. “My family and supporters worked tirelessly over a long period of time to make this happen and it was nice to be able to celebrate my birthday on North Dakota soil.

“The fact they refused to classify me as a wrongful detainee was an unfortunate and politically cowardly act that cost me almost a year of my life,” he said.

Groszhans is among a handful of Americans jailed in Ukraine or Russia whose departures have been complicated by the war.

A statement Friday from Groszhans’ family said the charges would have been dismissed in a U.S. court for lack of evidence. “Kurt was eventually able to legally depart Ukraine when his bail restrictions allowed,” the statement said.

Republican U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven said they are grateful for Groszhans’ safe return home but did not offer further information.

“Out of respect for the family’s wishes, we aren’t able to provide additional details at this time,” said Kami Capener, Hoeven’s spokeswoman.

Cramer did not immediately return an email message seeking further comment.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

1 day ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

2 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

2 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

4 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

4 days ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

5 days ago

Senators say North Dakota farmer detained in Ukraine is home