Russia has already reached the principal aim of its military operation in Ukraine, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said in an interview aired on Thursday.
“As of today, the goals of the special military operation have been met,” Lukashenko told Ukrainian journalist Diana Panchenko, during a two-hour interview posted on YouTube.
“Ukraine will never be so aggressive towards Russia after this war ends, as it was before. Ukraine will be different. People in power [there] will be more cautious, smart, more cunning if you will,” Lukashenko said.
His comments came in response to a question by Panchenko whether Russian President Vladimir Putin had ever revealed the conditions under which Moscow would consider that the operation had achieved its objectives.
“We never discussed that topic in that spirit,” Lukashenko replied, “but I can tell you what my position is.”
Belarus is part of the Union State with Russia, and has been sanctioned by the US and its allies over the Ukraine conflict. While Belarusian troops have not taken part in the hostilities, Russian forces had used the country’s territory for their initial deployment near Kiev.
In a speech in early June, Lukashenko noted that the conflict did not begin in February 2022, or even with the 2014 US-backed coup in Kiev, pointing instead to the 2004 “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine.
“Everything was leading up to this. Probably the only mistake we made was that we did not resolve this issue in 2014-2015, when Ukraine had neither an army nor resolve,” he said.
Instead, Russia chose the path of diplomacy with the Minsk Agreements, brokered by Germany and France. Former leaders of the two countries, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande, admitted last fall that the purported roadmap for peace was a ploy to buy Kiev time for building up Ukrainian armed forces.