The White House said Wednesday it invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to meet President Joe Biden next month, but the visit will come later than Kyiv had hoped, reinforcing a perception in Ukraine that a country pressured by the last U.S. president is also getting less than favored treatment from the new one.
Zelenskyy had publicly appealed for an in-person meeting with Biden before Biden’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva in June. Instead, Zelenskyy got a phone call with Biden and tweeted afterward that he had been invited to visit the White House in July.
But no July meeting in the Oval Office took place, and the session is now set for Aug. 30, the White House announced. Administration officials, meanwhile, denied accusations that they had warned Ukraine against public criticism of Biden’s handling of a controversial Russian gas pipeline or postponed any meeting between the leaders.
Ukraine had high expectations for the Biden presidency after contending with demands from former President Donald Trump, who held up military aid while asking Zelenskyy’s government to dig up dirt on the Biden family to help win re-election. The episode led to the first impeachment of Trump, who was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate in February 2020, and dragged Ukraine into America’s bitter partisan politics.