The White House announced on Wednesday that President Joe Biden will meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, towards the end of next month.
The two leaders will meet on Aug. 30, the White House said in a statement.
“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 expressed reservations about a rumoured agreement between Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the Russian Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.
As a potential danger to European energy security, Biden and two former US presidents have opposed the construction of the Russia-to-Germany pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea. Russia will be able to use the new pipeline to bypass Ukraine as a transit country, reducing Ukraine’s ability to exert pressure on Russia.
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 particularly important since he was a key figure in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment.
The phone conversation between Zelensky and Trump in July 2019 sparked impeachment inquiries. According to the transcripts of the call, Trump requested that he provide politically damaging information about Biden and his son, Hunter.
The call prompted House Democrats to write impeachment proceedings against Trump. On charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of authority, he was eventually acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate.