Hundreds of Lithuanian citizens rallied to raise nearly $5 million to buy an advanced military drone that Ukraine can use in its ongoing war against Russia.
The fundraiser was completed in just three and a half days and consisted mostly of small donations from ordinary Lithuanian citizens, Reuters reported on Saturday, citing Laisves TV, a Lithuanian internet broadcaster that launched the campaign. The money, totaling $4.7 million, will now be used to purchase a Bayraktar TB2 military drone, an unmanned aerial vehicle that has proven extremely successful against Russian forces.
“This is the first case in history of ordinary people raising money to buy something like a bayraktar. It’s unprecedented, it’s incredible,” Beshta Petro, Ambassador of Ukraine to Lithuania, told Laisves TV, according to Reuters.
Ukraine had bought nearly two dozen Bayraktar TB2 armed drones from Turkey’s Baykar company in recent years and received another 16 in early March. The drones have become legendary among the nation’s defenses, even being the subject of a folk song that claims the Bayraktar “makes ghosts out of Russian bandits,” according to the statement The New Yorker.
Lithuania, a former Soviet Union state and NATO member, was an outspoken critic of the invasion. Along with other Baltic states, it has expressed fears that Russia could extend the war to its own country and has sought to step up security efforts in recent months.
Earlier this week, Lithuania’s foreign minister accused Moscow of committing “genocide” and warned that if Ukraine ceded territory to Russia to help bring peace, it could “normalize” what the regime of Russian President Vladimir Trying to reach Putin. Several Lithuanians who donated to purchase the Bayraktar said they were happy to help the Eastern European nation in its efforts to end the bloody war.
“Before this war started, none of us thought that we would buy weapons. But now it’s a normal thing. Something has to be done to make the world a better place,” said 32-year-old Agne Belickaite, who received €100 as a donation sent as soon as the fundraiser kicked off on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
“I have been donating to buy arms for Ukraine for some time. And I will do that until victory,” she added, noting that she was partly motivated by fears that Russia might attack Lithuania.
The Russian invasion began more than three months ago and has so far resulted in the deaths of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. However, the Russian military has met significant setbacks and has achieved few military successes.
https://www.newsweek.com/lithuanian-citizens-pool-47m-buy-advanced-drone-ukraines-military-1711163 Lithuanian citizens pool $4.7 million to buy advanced drone for Ukraine’s military