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Published March 19, 2014, 10:34 PM

Turmoil in Ukraine causing concern for businesses in North Dakota

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It seems far away, but the turmoil in Ukraine is causing concern for businesses based right here in North Dakota. Our state has a strong trade relationship with the country, mostly with agriculture.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It seems far away, but the turmoil in Ukraine is causing concern for businesses based right here in North Dakota.

Our state has a strong trade relationship with the country, mostly with agriculture.

Several agricultural companies send exports to Ukraine, businesses like Titan Machinery and Amity Technology.

They say the soil in Ukraine is similar to North Dakota soil, making for a good partnership.

But right now, all that is at a standstill.

Farmers all over the world speak the same language.

That's what Amity Technology CEO Howard Dahl says, the company has been doing business with Ukraine for more than two decades.

Dahl just came back from his 71st trip to the country, and describes a somber atmosphere.

Howard Dahl/Amity Technology CEO: "To see where these students were shot by snipers. It was a bit like walking the beaches of Normandy, where people fought bravely for freedom, and died."

The unrest could threaten trade with the country.

In 2013, North Dakota exports to Ukraine totaled $22 million.

Now, the banking sector has all but shut down and value of currency has plummeted.

Olga Hall/Titan Machinery: "Ukraine has often had instability, almost to the point where they're used to it. People shut down and don't buy anything."

It all seems to hinge on Russia's next move; after taking Crimea, many have concerns Russia will try to take more of the country.

Dahl: "Putin is a good chess player. We aren't always as good at looking two moves ahead. It will be interesting to see what happens."

One interesting fact, Olga Hall with Titan Machinery was actually born in Russia.

Senator John Hoeven, who also took a recent trip to Ukraine, expects next week Congress will vote to provide assistance to the country, while putting sanctions on Russia.

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