Linkevičius served as minister of National Defence from 1993 to 1996 and from 2000 to 2004. He was the Lithuanian Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Treaty Organization from 2005 until 2011. In December 2012 he was appointed minister of Foreign Affairs.
Views on Russia
Linkevičius has been a constant opponent within the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization of compromises with Russia over Ukraine.
When measures to re-engage Russia were discussed in Brussels, in January 2015, he strongly objected. "I do not think we should think how to re-engage.
Russia should think how to re-engage.. I see no reason why we should invent something," he was quoted.
(Financial Times, January 20, 2015)
"We can"t trust a single word of the Russian leadership. statements are worthless," he was quoted as saying in a public speech in March 2015, scolding some of his European Union colleagues for being detached from "reality" in seeking to soften or unroll some of the sanctions against Russia.
(Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2015)
In a newspaper column, in June 2015, Linkevičius warned Lithuania"s North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners against regression to a mid-Cold War-like détente with Russia, as the one experienced in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Russia, he wrote, no longer poses "a serious alternative to Western liberal democracy", and its adversarial relations with the rest of Europe are "just a Kremlin construct, invented by modern Russia to cover failures of reform."(Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2015)
Referring to Lithuania as a "frontline state" with Russia, he urged in that column that "North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s capabilities should be based on sober threat analyses, not illusions. Anything that the Kremlin perceives as weakness will encourage it to press ahead.".