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UPDATE 1-Kiev needs US support, Ukraine’s leader says before Trump meeting

by ace

Today´s Deals

Zelenskiy will talk to Trump this week

* First meeting since Zelenskiy became president

* Zelenskiy expects further negotiations soon in eastern Ukraine (adds analyst quote, details, background)

By Matthias Williams and Pavel Polityuk

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine's president said he expected a "significant and meaningful" meeting with Donald Trump this week and, hoping that further peace talks will be held in eastern Ukraine soon, reiterated Kiev's need for US support.

In comments released by his office on Tuesday, Volodymyr Zelenskiy did not refer to allegations that the US president pressured him to open a corruption investigation against Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son in exchange for US military aid.

A US whistleblower filed a complaint about the content of a telephone conversation between Trump and Zelenskiy on July 25, leading to calls from some Democrats that Trump would be challenged for trying to recruit a foreign power to defame a domestic opponent.

Trump and Zelenskiy's team denied that the US president put pressure on the Ukrainian leader during the call. Biden, whose son Hunter worked for a gas drilling company in Ukraine, said on Saturday he had never talked to his son about his business in Ukraine.

Zelenskiy's meeting this week with Trump during a trip to the United States for the UN General Assembly will be the first with the US president since Zelenskiy became Ukraine's leader in May.

"I think we will have a significant and meaningful meeting," said Zelenskiy. Your office gave no further details.

Comedian and, like Trump, a television star with no prior political experience when he took office, Zelenskiy won a landslide election victory in April, promising voters to end conflict with Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine.

ACT OF BALANCE

Zelenskiy cannot risk relations with both sides of the political division in Washington, whose bipartisan support for Ukraine has aid and diplomatic coverage against Russia following Moscow's annexation to the Crimean peninsula in 2014.

Ukraine also wants Moscow to return to Crimea, a demand that has fallen on deaf ears in Russia.

The story goes on

"It's very important to make friends with Trump, to be appreciated by Trump, but not to get involved in this interparty conflict," said Volodymyr Fesenko, an analyst at Penta, based in Kiev.

Zelenskiy also said he expected leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany to meet in the coming weeks to discuss the five-year conflict in eastern Ukraine that killed 13,000 people.

"We want to leave this meeting with certain results in specific terms of ending the war and returning our territories," said Zelenskiy.

He hopes to capitalize on the momentum gained when Russia and Ukraine exchanged dozens of prisoners this month in a historic exchange that brought praise from the West and hopes for a thaw in relations. (Edition by Timothy Heritage)

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