Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko has given a rare, two-hour interview to Ukrainian journalist Diana Panchenko, according to Belarus state media BelTA.
Importantly he declared that the goals of Russia's special military operation have been met, characterized as follows: "The goals of the Russian special military operation have already been fulfilled and the future Ukraine will not dance to the tune of the United States," Lukashenko said.
He was responding specifically to a question over the circumstances under which he thinks President Putin would consider the goals fulfilled, in a 'mission accomplished' sense.
Lukashenko admitted he was having to speculate in response, saying: "You know, we did not discuss the topic with him in this spirit, but I dare to express my position. The goals of the SMO have already been fulfilled."
He described this is because "Ukraine will never be as aggressive towards Russia after the end of this war as it was before the war. Ukraine will be different."
"First, there will be people in power who are more cautious, smarter, more cunning, if you like. Intelligent people. Who will understand that the neighbors are given by God and that you need to build relations with them," the Belarusian leader continued.
Thus it appears the 'main objective' as Lukashenko is interpreting it is permanently halting the future potential of new Ukraine aggression. He then stressed:
"I'm sure of it. The future Ukraine will not dance to the tune of the United States. This is my understanding. I am absolutely convinced that Putin thinks so too. I think that's how he understands the process. This is a big lesson not only for Ukraine but also for Russia. For us, for the whole world. That's a great lesson. We will learn from it. Russia will too."
Interestingly, there have been rumors and rumblings out of Brussels that NATO has begun mulling compromise, at a moment that Ukraine's offensive is increasingly being acknowledged as a failure.
However, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is still committed to supporting Kiev until 'victory'. "If you want a lasting, just peace, then military support for Ukraine is the way to get there. There is no doubt about that," he said in Thursday comments.
"It is Ukraine, and only Ukraine, that can decide when the prerequisites for negotiations are present. And who can decide, around a negotiating table, what is an acceptable solution," he continued. "Our task is to support them."