Ukraine's Zelenskyy to Visit Biden in August, Weeks After Nord Stream 2 Deal Made

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to visit U.S. President Joe Biden on August 30, just weeks after a deal was finally made between Germany and the U.S. on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Zelenskyy's visit has been planned since an announcement made in June that the Ukrainian president would be invited to the White House later in the summer, though its official date was only finally confirmed on Wednesday.

On the same day of the Zelenskyy announcement, Germany and the U.S. reached an agreement on the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, with the U.S. allowing the pipeline's construction to continue without further sanctions against it.

Ukraine has been vehemently opposed to the pipeline, and Zelenskyy publicly raised concerns last month over Biden's decision to discuss the pipeline with Russian President Vladmir Putin.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Volodymyr Zelensky speaking
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will finally get his chance for an Oval Office sit down with President Joe Biden on Aug. 30. In this June 14, 2021 file photo, Zelenskyy gestures while speaking to the media during a news conference in Kyiv, Ukraine. Efrem Lukatsky, File/AP Photo

"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 Zelenskyy's efforts to tackle corruption and implement a reform agenda based on our shared democratic values," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Zelenskyy played no small part in Trump's first impeachment.

Trump's 2019 call with Zelenskyy spurred the congressional inquiry after it was revealed that Trump had asked him to "do us a favor" and investigate Biden and his son Hunter's activity in Ukraine. One of the officials most involved in the effort, Trump's European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, said Trump repeatedly insisted there was "no quid pro quo" in his request.

But Sondland also said it was widely understood by both sides that Zelenskyy, at the the time Ukraine's new president, would only get a meeting with Trump in the Oval Office if he publicly pledged to investigate the Bidens and the Democrats in the runup to the 2020 presidential election.

Trump was acquitted by the Senate and an Oval Office face-to-face between the 45th president never materialized.

U.S. officials from both parties have long feared the gas pipeline would give Russia too much power over European gas supplies, potentially shutting off gas to Russian adversaries Ukraine and Poland. But the pipeline is almost completed and the U.S. has been determined to rebuild ties with Germany that were damaged during the Trump administration.

Biden said he renewed his concerns to German Chancellor Angela Merkel when she visited him at the White House last week. Merkel sought to downplay the differences and stressed that the pipeline was in addition to — not meant to displace — Ukrainian pipelines. The U.S. and Germany are expected to make certain concessions to Ukraine and Poland as part of the deal that paves the way for the pipeline to be completed.

The meeting comes at a time of growing concern in Kyiv about the U.S.-Ukraine relationship.

There also appeared to be some differences between the two sides about when the meeting would take place. Zelenskyy tweeted soon after the invitation was extended that Biden had invited him to visit in July.

But a senior administration official, who was not authorized to publicly comment on the private conversation between the two leaders, said the White House "never specified what month it was going to take place."

Joe Biden cabinet meeting
U.S. President Joe Biden reached an agreement with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia. Above, Biden speaks at the start of a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House on July 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images