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Biden to host Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky at White House next month

By
Don Jacobson
The Ukrainian president is notable because he played a key role in the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump in 2019. File Photo by Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE
The Ukrainian president is notable because he played a key role in the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump in 2019. File Photo by Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE

July 21 (UPI) -- The White House announced Wednesday that a meeting between President Joe Biden and Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky will be held at the end of next month.

The two leaders will meet on Aug. 30, the White House said in a statement.

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"The visit will affirm the United States' unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia's ongoing aggression in the Donbas and Crimea, our close cooperation on energy security, and our backing for President Zelensky's efforts to tackle corruption and implement a reform agenda based on our shared democratic values."

The meeting comes after Zelensky voiced concerns about a reported deal between Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the Russian Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.

Biden and two previous U.S. presidents have opposed the construction of the Russia-to-Germany pipeline under the Baltic Sea as a potential threat to European energy security. Russia will be able to use the new pipeline to bypass Ukraine as a transit nation, lessening Ukraine's leverage to restrain aggressive Russian behavior against it.

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In May, Biden's administration waived sanctions against the German corporate entity overseeing its construction. Germany had opposed those sanctions, and multiple reports indicated Wednesday the U.S. administration has agreed to accept the nearly-completed Nord Stream 2 as a fait accompli.

Under the deal, Germany and the United States will invest $50 million in Ukrainian green-tech infrastructure and provide other geopolitical help to Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Those developments prompted Zelensky to respond with concern.

"I believe that our American & German partners will jointly oppose the aggressor, not encourage it. And no decision on Ukraine without Ukraine," he tweeted last week as Biden and Merkel met at the White House.

The Ukrainian president is also notable because he played a key role in the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

Zelensky's July 2019 phone conversation with Trump ignited impeachment investigations. Transcripts from the call showed Trump asked him to supply politically damaging information on Biden and his son, Hunter.

The call led House Democrats to draft articles of impeachment against Trump. He was eventually acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate on counts of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.

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