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White House postpones Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s meeting with Biden for second time

US President Joseph Biden, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Collage: Ukrainska Pravda
White House postpones Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s meeting with Biden for second time

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy is on his way to the US, where he is going to meet US President Joseph Biden for the first time. Earlier the leaders had only a phone conversation and Zelenskyy is full of high hopes. However, the very fact that the White House postponed the meeting of two leaders two times in a short period of time may mean that Ukraine isn’t among the priorities of the US agenda now.

For the second time, the White House has postponed scheduled talks between the presidents of Ukraine and the United States. The White House confirmed this to the Voice of America. The European Pravda also received confirmation from two of its sources in Kyiv.

It is currently expected that the meeting of the presidents is going take place on 1 September, instead of the earlier scheduled date, 31 August. The reasons for the postponement were first not specified officially, but it is known that 31 August is the deadline for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, which, given the development of events in this country, carries risks for the US administration. This, according to European Pravda’s sources, was the reason for the rescheduling, with which Kyiv agreed.

Later Ukrainian President’s press-secretary Serhiy Nikiforov confirmed in his commentary to Interfax-Ukraine the version by European Pravda’s sources.

“This [postponement] is due to a request from the United States. The Taliban’s ultimatum or the deadline for evacuating foreign nationals from Kabul Airport expires on 31 August… So the American side asked us to postpone our visit for one day because of this and to dedicate this whole day to this important topic for the American side,” Nikiforov said.

The meeting of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky with US President Joseph Biden has been postponed to September 1 at the request of the American side in connection with the expiration of the Taliban ultimatum in Afghanistan to evacuate foreigners from Kabul airport.

This was stated by the press-secretary of the President of Ukraine Serhiy Nikiforov to the Interfax-Ukraine agency, European Truth reports.

It is worth noting that this is the second postponement of this meeting in a short period of time. Ten days ago, Washington announced the postponement of Biden’s meeting with Zelenskyy from August 30 to 31. Recently, Biden’s office confirmed that despite the events in Afghanistan, plans for the meeting on 31 August remained unchanged.

Postponing the meeting at the White House at the last minute creates additional issues for Zelenskyy on his visit. In particular, the Ukrainian president had planned meetings with representatives of the IT industry in California scheduled for 1 September, thus those can’t be now carried out on time. However, Zelenskyy’s press secretary says that Zelenskyy is going to spend two days after his arrival in Washington and only then he would go to California where he still would have his scheduled meetings, though a day later.

In his interview with European Pravda, Valeriy Chalyi, the former Ukrainian Ambassador to the US (2015-2019), explained the high hopes of Ukraine in regard to Zelenskyy’s visit to the US. Zelenskyy waited for this visit for two years, and Ukraine needs to establish trust between Kyiv and Washington at the highest level.

Meanwhile, various Western press outlets see Ukraine’s disappointment and uncertainty before Zelenskyy’s meeting with Biden. As the Ukrainian president hopes to return the Western attention to Ukraine, the West has been focused too much on Afghanistan.

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