But Sondland also said it was widely understood by both sides that Zelenskyy, at the the time Ukraine’s new president, would only get a meeting with Trump in the Oval Office if he publicly pledged to investigate the Bidens and the Democrats in the runup to the 2020 presidential election.
Trump was acquitted by the Senate and an Oval Office face-to-face between the 45th president never materialized.
The Biden administration also announced Wednesday it has reached a deal with Germany that will allow the completion of the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Europe without the imposition of further U.S. sanctions.
U.S. officials from both parties have long feared that it would give Russia too much power over European gas supplies, potentially shutting off gas to Russian adversaries Ukraine and Poland. But the pipeline is almost completed and the U.S. has been determined to rebuild ties with Germany that were damaged during the Trump administration.
Biden said he renewed his concerns to German Chancellor Angela Merkel when she visited him at the White House last week. Merkel sought to downplay the differences and stressed that the pipeline was in addition to — not meant to displace — Ukrainian pipelines. The U.S. and Germany are expected to make certain concessions to Ukraine and Poland as part of the deal that paves the way for the pipeline to be completed.
The meeting comes at a time of growing concern in Kyiv about the U.S.-Ukraine relationship.
Zelenskyy last month had publicly raised concerns about Biden's decision to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and about the pipeline.
There also appeared to be some differences between the two sides about when the meeting would take place. Zelenskyy tweeted soon after the invitation was extended that Biden had invited him to visit in July.
But a senior administration official, who was not authorized to publicly comment on the private conversation between the two leaders, said the White House “never specified what month it was going to take place.”
Associated Press diplomatic correspondent Matthew Lee contributed reporting.