Biden, Ukraine's Zelenskiy to meet Aug 30 in Washington

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy poses as he is welcomed at the Bellevue palace in Berlin, Germany, on July 12, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Joe Biden will meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Washington next month to discuss energy issues and threats posed by Russia to the eastern European country's sovereignty, according to the White House.

The Aug 30 White House meeting will allow Biden to declare "unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia's ongoing aggression" in the Donbass and Crimea regions, spokesman Jen Psaki said in an emailed statement on Wednesday (July 21).

Kyiv and Moscow have been at odds since Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and backed separatists in a conflict in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region, which Ukraine says has killed 14,000 people.

The meeting comes as Biden administration officials are set to unveil a deal with Germany intended partly to allay Ukrainian concerns about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline being built under the Baltic Sea to carry gas from Russia's Arctic region to Germany.

Ukraine fears Russia using energy as a weapon against the country and losing fees as a transit point for gas supplies. As part of the deal, Germany has agreed to take potential unspecified actions against Russia if it cuts off energy supplies to Ukraine, sources said.

Biden and Zelenskiy spoke in June ahead of the US president's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, which was intended to ease tense relations between Moscow and Washington over issues including Ukraine's independence.

Lower-level diplomatic coordination between the countries has continued in the weeks since.

The White House said Biden and Zelenskiy will also discuss Ukraine's anti-corruption efforts, long a focus of US and other Western countries.

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