‘Message to the world’ – Lithuanians join forces to buy drones for Ukraine

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© Reuters. A Bayraktar Akinci drone is displayed at the Teknofest aerospace and technology festival in Baku, Azerbaijan, on May 27, 2022. REUTERS/Aziz Karimov

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Andris Setas

VILNIUS (Reuters) – Hundreds of Lithuanians are banding together to buy advanced military drones for Ukraine in its war with Russia, in a show of solidarity with their countrymen formerly under Moscow.

Of the 5 million euros required, about 3 million euros ($3.2 million) were raised in just three days, according to Laisves TV, the Lithuanian internet broadcaster that launched the campaign.

“Before this war, none of us thought we would buy guns. But now it’s a normal thing. Something has to be done for the world to be better,” Agne Baileyket, 32, said in a statement. Belickaite said her fundraiser kicked off Wednesday.

“I’ve been donating money to buy guns for Ukraine for some time now. And will keep doing it until victory,” she told Reuters, adding that she was partly motivated by fears that Russia might attack Lithuania.

Drones have proven effective against Russian forces and their allies in conflicts in Syria and Libya in recent years. The Lithuanian Defense Ministry is plotting to buy drones, the defense ministry told Reuters it plans to sign a deal to buy drones from Turkey Letter of Intent next week.

In recent years, Ukraine has purchased more than 20 Bayraktar TB2 armed drones from the Turkish company Baykar, and on January 27 ordered 16 more. The batch was delivered in early March.

Ukrainian ambassador to Lithuania Besta Petro told Laisves TV: “This is the first case in history where ordinary people raised money to buy something like Bayraktar. It was unprecedented and unbelievable.”

To date, most of the heavy weapons NATO countries have shipped to Ukraine have been Soviet-made weapons that are still in the stockpiles of NATO members in Eastern Europe, but some have recently started supplying Western howitzers.

“While the government of the world’s largest country is deliberating endlessly… Lithuanian society is just uniting, you know, about to raise 5 million euros and buy drones – that’s an impressive one for the world information,” Belickaite said.

(1 USD = 0.9328 EUR)

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