Ukraine’s Zelensky to visit Biden at White House in August

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with President Joe Biden next month in Washington, D.C., the White House announced on Wednesday.

The news of Zelensky’s White House visit, scheduled for Aug. 30, comes at a delicate moment in the alliance between Washington and Kyiv, as the United States nears a deal with Germany on the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Ukraine has expressed concerns about the project, which would deliver inexpensive natural gas from Russia to Germany via a 764-mile-long pipeline under the Baltic Sea — potentially reducing Ukraine’s role in regional energy commerce.

But Germany has argued the completion of Nord Stream 2 is vital to its energy security, and Russia views the pipeline as a means of expanding its influence across Europe while raking in revenue.

Amid negotiations between Washington and Berlin over the project, U.S. officials have quietly urged their counterparts in Kyiv to refrain from public criticism of the potential pact — warning that such dissent could damage the Washington-Kyiv relationship.

Biden first extended the invitation for Zelensky to visit the White House last month, ahead of Biden’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva. At the time, Zelensky had been critical of the Biden-Putin meeting and scolded the U.S. for waiving sanctions related to the construction of the Nord Stream 2.

Biden responded by speaking with Zelensky before sitting down with Putin, assuring him of America’s “unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” in the face of Russian aggression. In that conversation, Biden also invited Zelensky to visit the White House sometime this summer.

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