Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor was instructed by a top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to hand over responsibilities for his post just days before Mr. Pompeo plans to visit the Ukrainian capital, according to a person familiar with the situation.

That timing countered earlier suggestions that Mr. Taylor’s precise departure date was predetermined, and will allow Mr. Pompeo to avoid meeting or being photographed with an ambassador who has drawn President Trump’s ire for his testimony in the congressional impeachment inquiry, according to this person and to Ukrainian officials…

Mr. Taylor is planning to leave the country on Jan. 2, and had understood that Mr. Pompeo wanted to avoid being photographed with him while visiting Ukraine, the person familiar with the situation said.

Mr. Pompeo’s visit is scheduled to take place Jan. 3 to Jan. 4 in Kyiv, according to Ukrainian officials.