Lithuanian citizens raised €5 million in a crowdfunding campaign to buy a Bayraktar TB-2 drone to donate to the Ukrainian military.
The country’s official Twitter account celebrated the milestone last Saturday (2), thanked the Lithuania and stated that the total was reached in three days thanks mainly to small donations.
The “kitty” was a private initiative started by Laisves TV, a Lithuanian online broadcaster founded in 2016 to support Kiev’s war effort.
The donation was an unusual addition to the flow of military aid granted to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February, as most shipments of arms and other military equipment came directly from governments such as those of the United States, the United Kingdom and European countries.
Furthermore, the Lithuanian initiative is unusual in that the funds were earmarked for specific equipment.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Lithuania, Beshta Petro, celebrated the milestone in an interview with Laisves, according to Reuters news agency.
“This is the first case in history where ordinary people raise money to buy something like a Bayraktar,” he said. “It’s unprecedented, it’s unbelievable.”
It was unclear how the funds would be used to purchase the drone or when one could be used in Ukraine.
Lithuania’s Defense Ministry said it will ensure the drone is fully armed before handing it over to the Ukrainians. According to estimates by the agency, arming the drone would cost 1.5 million euros (approximately R$ 8.3 million).
The Bayraktar TB-2 is among the most modern weapons in the Ukrainian arsenal and is part of a new generation of drones equipped with relatively inexpensive missiles, which helped shift the strategic balance against Russia. Because of this, the device was called a “life generator” by the Ukrainian Air Force.
Ukraine began deploying Bayraktar drones shortly after the Russian invasion, utilizing its high-powered cameras to view the battlefield and laser artillery strikes. The TB2 can remain airborne for 24 hours, with an altitude ceiling of approximately 7.62 km. A remote pilot can fly the drone at a distance of almost 300 km.
* Intern at R7under the supervision of Raphael Hakime