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Trump and Zelensky at the UN in September. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters in Washington on Friday that Ukraine is still working to schedule a White House meeting for President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Why it matters: Kuleba emphasized that Ukraine needs strong support from the U.S. despite the current "turmoil" — a reference to impeachment proceedings. His status as the first member of Zelensky's government to visit Washington underlines the fact that Zelensky's own visit — which U.S. officials linked to Zelensky announcing investigations sought by President Trump — still has not happened.

  • Kuleba noted that Trump had invited Zelensky to Washington "in the immediate aftermath of the elections," and said "everything has to be worked out through diplomatic channels."

Background: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov did have an Oval Office meeting with Trump this week, directly after negotiations in France on the war in Eastern Ukraine. Critics said it sent the wrong message about U.S. support for Ukraine.

  • The "Normandy Format" negotiations have provoked backlash against Zelensky from Ukrainians who believe he is about to negotiate away their sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • Kuleba said Zelensky was "ready to take risks to get Russia out of Donbas," but would not cross any of Ukraine's red lines. “In Russia it’s simple, if you want to solve something you have to talk to Putin," he said.
  • Kuleba, speaking at the German Marshall Fund think tank, thanked the U.S. for its "consistent" support of Ukraine up to now, but said "enough is never enough" and more is needed.

Between the lines: Zelensky lamented recently that Trump's repeated descriptions of Ukraine as corrupt are undercutting his efforts to project a new image of his country and gain support and investment.

Zoom in: Kuleba's agenda in Washington includes meetings on Capitol Hill and with members of the National Security Council and State Department.

  • He said none of the administration officials he met with asked about Rudy Giuliani, Joe Biden or impeachment. "As you can imagine, nor did I mention it," he added.
  • Kuleba joked that since the officials he'd met had been quite positive toward Ukraine, "maybe I was meeting with the wrong people."

Go deeper:

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Broncos and 49ers the latest NFL teams impacted by coronavirus crisis

From left, Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel during an August training session at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the NFL season into chaos, with all Denver Broncos quarterbacks sidelined, the San Francisco 49ers left without a home or practice ground and much of the Baltimore Ravens team unavailable, per AP.

Driving the news: The Broncos confirmed in a statement Saturday night that quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were identified as "high-risk COVID-19 close contacts" and will follow the NFL's mandatory five-day quarantine, making them ineligible for Sunday's game against New Orleans.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.