Lithuanian crowdfunding secures armed drone for Ukraine

Lithuanian crowdfunding secures armed drone for Ukraine
A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone at the Siauliai military air force base in Lithuania (Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence via AP)

Lithuania will present a combat drone to Ukraine after a private crowdfunding campaign among ordinary residents raised nearly six million euros (£5 million) for the purpose within days.

The campaign’s success inspired Turkey’s Baykar defence company, which makes the Bayraktar TB2 drone, to provide it free of cost.

Some of the money raised in Lithuania was used to arm the drone, and the rest would be funnelled to Ukraine to address “critical needs”, the Lithuanian government said.

A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone at the Siauliai military air force base in Lithuania (Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence via AP)

Lithuanian defence minister Arvydas Anusauskas presented the drone, which arrived in the country earlier this week, to the public at a local air base.

“One weapon won’t win a war but symbols are extremely important in any war,” he told public broadcaster LRT on Wednesday.

It would be handed over to Ukraine in the coming days.

The crowdfunding initiative was launched at the end of May with a target amount of five million euros (£4 million), which it reached in days as thousands of citizens chipped in.

Lithuania, a Baltic nation of 2.8 million and former Soviet republic, is among the most active supporters of Ukraine and has provided military aid to Kyiv on a regular basis since Russia’s February 24 invasion.

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