"Negotiation table unfortunately is not around the corner. There is no evidence that Russia today wants to engage in good faith negotiations," Karen Donfried, assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, tells media in Washington, DC.

Karen  Donfried repeats US position on the ongoing conflict, saying Washington supports Ukraine's right to defend itself.
Karen Donfried repeats US position on the ongoing conflict, saying Washington supports Ukraine's right to defend itself. (Reuters)

Washington DC: US sees no signals the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine can be resolved diplomatically in the near term, a top US diplomat for Europe at the State Department has said.

"I think that negotiating table, unfortunately, is not around the corner. I say that because there is no evidence that Russia today wants to engage in good-faith negotiations at that table," Karen Donfried, assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, told media on Wednesday.

"So, unfortunately, I think it is still some time away."

Donfried repeated the US position on the conflict, saying Washington supports Ukraine's right to defend itself and that "Ukraine has shown it is a formidable force… Ukrainians are inspiring the entire world at this moment."

Her remarks came after Ukrainian forces withdrew to the outskirts of the eastern Sievierodonetsk city on Wednesday in the face of a fierce Russian push – another major development in one of the bloodiest battles of the military offensive. 

READ MORE: Is Germany intentionally dithering over arms supplies to Ukraine?

NATO enlargement 

Calling Russia's military offensive in Ukraine – now in its 105th day – "unjustified" and "brutal", Donfried said it has galvanised the US-Europe alliance and NATO military bloc, leading to "remarkable unity" among the allies.

"It's interesting; a colleague of mine at the European Union said to several of us this was Europe's 9/11," she said, adding the conflict has led "to remarkable unity both in terms of how can NATO strengthen its own defences, but also in terms of cooperation with the EU, making sure that we together are putting costs on Russia to make clear how wrong this action is."

"If we want one example of a strategic miscalculation Putin [Russian President] made the fact that Finland and Sweden are applying for NATO membership is a striking one," she said.

The Nordic countries always felt it was not in their strategic interest to join the military alliance, she said, but Russia miscalculated.

"Putin in the run-up to his war against Ukraine said he was concerned about too much NATO along Russia’s borders.  Well, if that was a concern he had and something he was seeking to prevent, he has brought about exactly the opposite with Finland applying for NATO membership," Donfried said.

Sweden, along with Finland, formally applied to join NATO on May 18, a decision spurred by fears Russia won't stop at Ukraine, where it began its offensive on February 24.

READ MORE: Türkiye to NATO chief: Our security concerns based on legitimate grounds

Türkiye's demands

Asked about Türkiye's concerns over Sweden and Finland's potential membership to the military bloc, she said, "any decision about NATO enlargement is not the decision just for the United States, it's a decision for all 30 NATO allies."

"And of course, Türkiye is very much a valued NATO ally. It has raised concerns, particularly about Sweden's and Finland's relationship with the PKK [terror group], and we very much are concerned about the terrorist threat. So we think it is important that Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden be having this conversation," she added.

Ankara says the admission of the Nordic countries could be a threat to the bloc's future unless they take "a clear position on the fight against terrorism".

Türkiye's core demands include Sweden and Finland ending support for PKK/YPG and FETO terror groups and lifting restrictions on Ankara in the defence industry before they become members of NATO.

The PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

Donfried said the US supports NATO's enlargement and is in contact with Türkiye in this regard.

Top US officials are having regular conversations with their Turkish counterparts, she said, adding, "I am confident there will be a positive conclusion."

READ MORE: Türkiye: NATO should focus on determining common enemies

Source: TRT World