What’s going on with the North Dakota farmer detained in Ukraine?
Allegations of international graft—and a certain suspect phone call from former President Donald Trump to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy—made their way into the election drama of 2016. And now a U.S. farmer is apparently being detained in the former Soviet republic over a soured business deal and possible murder plot. Details are few and conflicting, but it seems that North Dakota-grown farmer Kurt Groszhans—himself a descendant of Ukrainian immigrants—accused the country’s agrarian minister, Roman Leschenko, of stealing money from Groszhans’ European farming operation. Groszhans, who made frequent trips to Ukraine, hasn’t communicated with his family in some weeks to tell his side of the story. But, as Agweek reports, a Ukrainian media platform claims he was a key actor in a conspiracy to assassinate Leschenko, whom the American farmer alleged to have embezzled more than $420,000 dollars from their venture. Who knows what the real story is, but Ukraine’s farmers have often complained about “raiding,” in which their businesses are stolen from them after being registered under different names and owners, often with the help of unscrupulous bureaucrats. Farming can be a dangerous business. —Cynthia R. Greenlee