Lithuania Ambassador to the United States, Rolandas Krisciunas. Credit: Courtesy of Kestutis Vaskelevicius

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of NATO this week, Linas Linkevicius, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, will visit campus for a moderated Q&A discussion.

Linkevicius will travel from Washington D.C., where he and other foreign dignitaries from NATO-member countries are meeting for the 70th anniversary of NATO on Wednesday and Thursday.

Rolandas Krisciunas, the Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States, said he hopes to see a reaffirmation of the transatlantic treaty in the face of new threats.

“[The] U.S. is a strategic partner of Lithuania and the EU, we want to reaffirm this partnership and the need to stay united and cooperate closely as the transatlantic community faces old and new threats, such as cyber or disinformation attacks,” he said.

This event will be held on Friday in the Page Hall Policy Forum from 12:40-1:40 p.m. Linkevicius will discuss Lithuania’s 15 years of membership in NATO and the importance of NATO’s role in securing common security.

Krisciunas said coming to Ohio was significant for Linkevicius due to its Lithuanian communities.

“Ohio is known to Lithuanians mainly because of substantial American Lithuanian community in the north of Ohio,” Krisciunas said. “We would like to strengthen cultural ties to expand relationships among different universities.”

George Hudson, a political science professor at Ohio State, teaches Russian politics and foreign policy, and will attend an invite-only private seminar with the minister a few hours before the discussion where he said he plans to discuss Lithuania’s relationship with Russia — a country considered one of NATO’s biggest threats.

“The expansion of NATO has been a problem in regard to security and many nations may not see a major benefit of still being a part of NATO including Russia and other large nations, especially after the Warsaw Pact,” he said.

Krisciunas said, as a neighbor, Lithuania is interested in a friendly relationship with Russia, which would be based on mutual respect and respect to international law.

“Today on practical and technical level the cooperation with Russia is ongoing,” Krisciunas said. “But it is not full-fledged cooperation due to Russia’s energy blackmailing, disinformation and cyber-attacks, violation of international treaties, and finally, annexation of Crimea and the military attack on Ukraine and its people.”