Lithuanians raise funds to buy a drone for Ukraine

The drone has proven effective in recent years against Russian forces (File)

Vilnius:

Hundreds of Lithuanians are teaming up to buy an advanced military drone for Ukraine in its war against Russia, as a show of solidarity with another country once ruled by Moscow.

Some 3 million euros ($3.2 million) was raised in just three days – of the 5 million euros needed – largely in small amounts, according to Laisves TV, a Lithuanian internet broadcaster that launched the country.

“Before the start of this war, none of us thought of buying weapons. But it’s normal now. Something has to be done to make the world better,” said Agne Belickaite, 32, who has sent 100 euros as soon as the fundraiser launched on Wednesday.

“I have been donating to buy weapons from Ukraine for a while now. And I will do so until I win,” she told Reuters, adding that she was partly driven by fear. that Russia attacks Lithuania.

The drone has proven effective in recent years against Russian forces and their allies in the conflicts in Syria and Libya, and its purchase is being orchestrated by the Lithuanian Defense Ministry, which told Reuters it plans to sign a letter of intent to purchase the device from Turkey. next week.

Ukraine has bought more than 20 Bayraktar TB2 armed drones from the Turkish company Baykar in recent years and ordered another 16 on January 27. This batch was delivered at the beginning of March.

“This is the first case in history where ordinary people raise funds to buy something like a Bayraktar. It’s unprecedented, it’s amazing,” Beshta Petro, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Lithuania, said. at Laisves TV.

Most of the heavy weapons that NATO countries have sent to Ukraine so far are Soviet-made weapons still in the inventories of Eastern European NATO member states, but some have recently started supplying western howitzers.

“While the governments of the biggest countries in the world are deliberating endlessly (…) the Lithuanian company is just coming together and, you know, is about to raise 5 million euros and buy the drone – this which is an awesome message to the world,” Belickaite said.

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