Hundreds of Lithuanians are rallying to buy an advanced military drone for Ukraine in the war against Russia, in a show of solidarity with its former allies under Moscow’s rule.
In just three days, about 3 million euros ($ 3.2 million) were raised – out of the required 5 million euros – mainly in small amounts, from Lyceves TV, a Lithuanian internet broadcaster that launched the drive.
“Before this war started, none of us thought we would buy a gun. But now it’s normal. Something has to be done to improve the world,” said Agne Belikit, 32, who sent 100 euros. Fundraising began on Wednesday.
“I have been donating for some time to buy guns for Ukraine. And I will do so until the victory,” he told Reuters.
The drone has proved effective in recent years against Russian forces and their allies in the conflicts in Syria and Libya, and its purchase is being organized by the Lithuanian Defense Ministry, which told Reuters it planned to sign a letter of intent to buy the craft from Turkey. Next week.
Ukraine has bought more than 20 Bayraktar TB2 armed drones from the Turkish company Baker in recent years, and on January 27 ordered 16 more. That batch was delivered in early March.
“This is the first time in history that ordinary people have raised money to buy something like a bioreactor. It’s unprecedented, it’s incredible,” Ukraine’s ambassador to Lithuania Beshta Petro told Lisves TV.
Most of the heavy weapons that NATO countries have so far sent to Ukraine are Soviet-made weapons still on the list of Eastern European NATO member states, but some have recently begun to supply Western haulers.
“While the governments of the world’s largest nations are constantly thinking … Lithuanian society simply comes together and, as you know, is going to raise 5 million euros and buy drones – which is an impressive message for the world,” Belicite said.