Many Lithuanians have teamed up to buy an advanced military drone that will be sent to the Ukrainian army in its war against Russia, a new sign of Baltic solidarity for Kyiv.
About three million euros were raised in just three days – out of the five million euros needed – mostly from small sums donated by ordinary people, according to Laisves TV, a Lithuanian online television station that launched the campaign.
“Before the war began, none of us thought we would buy weapons. But now it’s normal. We need to do something to make the world a better place, “said Agne Belickaite, a 32-year-old woman who sent a hundred euros immediately after hearing about the fundraiser.
“I have been making donations for the purchase of weapons for Ukraine for some time. And I will do it until victory, “she added, adding that she was partly motivated by fears that Russia could attack Lithuania after Ukraine.
Drones have proved effective in recent years against Russian and allied forces in the conflicts in Syria and Libya. The acquisition is being carried out by the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense, which told Reuters that it intends to sign a letter of intent next week to buy the Turkish aircraft.
Ukraine has already bought more than 20 armed Bayraktar TB2 drones from the Turkish company Baykar in recent years and ordered another 16 on January 27th. The batch has already been delivered in early March.
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The Ambassador of Ukraine to Lithuania welcomed the gesture of the citizens of the Baltic state.
“This is the first case in history when ordinary people raise money to buy something like a Bayraktar drone. It’s unprecedented, it’s unbelievable, “Beshta Petro told Laisves TV.
Most of the heavy weapons that NATO countries have sent to Ukraine so far are Soviet-made weapons that are still in the stocks of NATO member states in Eastern Europe, but some states have recently begun supplying Western-made howitzers.
Ukraine has called for and continues to call for heavy weapons and long-range missile systems to counter Russian artillery, but the United States and its allies have not yet made a final decision, although things may change in the future. near.
The indecision has irritated Ukrainian officials, who are facing an increasingly difficult situation in Donbas, where they are dominated by the Russians in terms of numbers and quality of military equipment.
That is why Lithuanians believe that their gesture should be interpreted as a message to the West.
“While the governments of the world’s largest countries are deliberately deliberating, Lithuanian society is simply gathering and, you know, is about to raise 5 million euros and buy the drone – which is an impressive message to the world.” said Belickaite.
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