War in Ukraine complicates path home for Groszhans
WASHINGTON (AP) – The challenging path to bringing home Americans jailed in Ukraine and Russia is even more complicated now with a war overwhelming the region and increasingly hostile relations between the United States and the Kremlin.
Ukraine is holding North Dakota farmer Kurt Groszhans, accused in a plot to assassinate a current member of the country’s political cabinet. His family and supporters say the charges are trumped up, and were designed to silence Groszhan’s own allegations of government corruption in Ukraine.
After the State Department said last month that it was evacuating almost all of its staff from the embassy in Kyiv and would maintain a small consular presence elsewhere, Kristi Magnusson, Groszhan’s sister, said there is “no longer any way” for U.S. officials there to check on him.
Magnusson said in a statement provided to AP she was concerned that the State Department was not “advocating for his release because it would be inferring that Ukraine is engaged in corrupt activities right at a time when State is focused on being as supportive as possible of Ukraine against the Russians.
“We support the Ukrainian people against Russia as well, but our brother is a sitting duck in that prison and we need him to be released so at least he can try to survive on his own,” she added.
Sen. Kevin Cramer spoke with the State Department and the Ukrainian Ambassador this week about Groszhans. “We are still actively working to get Kurt out of Ukraine,” Cramer said.