President Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived in Washington on Aug. 30 for a three-day official visit.
Zelensky will meet with several ministers including U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Zelensky will end his Washington trip with a face-to-face meeting with U.S. President Joseph Biden in the White House on Sept. 1.
Zelensky is accompanied by First Lady Olena Zelenska, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Defense Minister Andriy Taran and Naftogaz Head Yuriy Vitrenko.
“There are three defense agreements that should be signed, there are important things concerning economic cooperation coming up,” Zelensky told TV channel 1+1 on Aug. 30.
“There will be a big discussion concerning the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, there must be an energy agreement signed,” he added. “There must be.”
In July, Biden struck a deal with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to allow the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to be finished in 2021. The project is likely to cause Ukraine to lose billions of dollars in transit revenues and make it harder to secure gas supplies.
To compensate Ukraine, the two countries promised to create a Green Fund, to which Germany has committed $175 million to promote and support investments in green energy in Ukraine. Germany stated that it hopes to attract $1 billion from third-party backers, including private investors to help Ukraine achieve energy independence
“It is up to Ukraine to fill in the blanks to make this offer as concrete and meaningful as possible,” wrote energy expert Edward Chow, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The Ukrainian leader is also expected to discuss additional military aid to defend against Russian aggression, as well as NATO membership.
Meanwhile, Zelenska is expected to take part in the opening of the Ukrainian House in Washington.
After Washington, Zelensky will travel to California where he is planning on meeting with tech executives, according to Ukrainian news agencies.
Zelensky’s initial meeting with Biden was scheduled for Aug. 30 but postponed twice due to the U.S.’s preoccupation with its hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The Taliban, a radical Islamist group, seized Afghanistan on Aug. 15 by entering Kabul without a fight. The swift defeat of the Afghan Western-backed government prompted the U.S. to speed up the evacuation of U.S. citizens, troops and contractors.
Explosive attacks struck Kabul airport on Aug. 26, killing over 170 people, including 13 U.S. soldiers. The U.S. has withdrawn the last of its troops late on Aug. 30, effectively ending the 20-year-long, $2 trillion war.
“I think it’s significant that despite all the problems, a very packed scheduled, still, Ukraine remains one of the top priorities,” Kuleba told 1+1 channel.
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