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Zelenskiy To Meet Trump In New York Next Week

A composite file photo of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (left) and U.S. President Donald Trump
A composite file photo of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (left) and U.S. President Donald Trump

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with his Ukrainian counterpart for the first time next week amid a House investigation over their July 25 phone call.

Trump will hold talks with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on September 25 during the United Nations General Assembly in New York, a senior White House administration official said on September 20. Zelenskiy's office confirmed the two will meet on the sidelines of the UN event.

The U.S. president will hold about a dozen bilateral meetings with world leaders, including Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Polish President Andrzej Duda, during his visit to the UN from September 23 to September 25, the senior administration official said.

However, Trump's meeting with Zelenskiy will be among the most closely watched amid reports that the U.S. president has been pressuring the Ukrainian leader.

The two will discuss energy cooperation, trade, as well as U.S. concerns over Chinese attempts to "loot Ukraine's intellectual property" the senior administration official said without giving any detail.

In August, then-U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton raised Washington’s concerns about Chinese firms offering to purchase Motor Sich, one of Ukraine’s largest defense companies.

Earlier this month, Washington signed a memorandum of cooperation with Kyiv and Warsaw that foresees Ukraine receiving U.S. liquefied natural gas via Poland and the development of energy pipelines between the two countries.

Trump and Zelenskiy will also discuss ending the war in eastern Ukraine, where fighting between government forces and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 13,000 people since April 2014.

The U.S. president will call on "all parties to adhere" to their obligations under the Minsk accords, the senior administration official said.

Zelenskiy, who won Ukraine's presidential election in April, will deliver a speech to the UN General Assembly during his visit to New York from September 23 to September 26.

He is also due to participate in the September 24-25 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) summit at the UN, as well as meet with leaders of the Ukrainian community in the United States, leaders of Jewish organizations, and representatives of the U.S. business community.

The Trump-Zelenskiy meeting comes amid House investigations into whether Trump threatened to withhold U.S. military support to Ukraine unless Zelenskiy’s administration looked into the actions of then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has accused Biden of ordering Ukraine to fire its prosecutor-general to halt an investigation into gas producer Burisma Holdings.

Biden's son Hunter Biden sat on the board of Burisma at the time. Biden is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination to compete against Trump in 2020.

Following the launch of the investigation, the White House announced last week it would release $250 million in military aid to Ukraine.

The aid is largely meant to train and equip Ukrainian forces as they fight against Russia-backed separatists in a war that has lasted more than five years, killed more than 13,000 people, and torn apart a large swath of eastern Ukraine.

Washington has given Ukraine more than $3 billion in aid, including $1.5 billion in lethal and nonlethal military goods over the past five years, and is advising the country on the reform of its armed forces.

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