Thousands of Lithuanians have had a whip round to send a lethal show of support to Ukraine. More than two-and-a-half million pounds have already been raised towards the cost of an advanced military drone.
Small donations have flooded in to help fund the purchase of a valuable piece of equipment for the Ukrainian army. The fundraising drive was launched by Laisves TV, a Lithuanian online broadcaster.
Support for Ukraine is widespread in the Baltic state, a former Soviet republic with long-running security tensions with Moscow.
It’s the first time public online crowdfunding on this scale has been used to purchase deadly equipment for a state army.
Agne Belickaite, 32, sent 100 euros as soon as the campaign launched four days ago and told Reuters she feared Vladimir Putin would attack Lithuania if he succeeds in Ukraine. She said: ‘Before this war started, none of us thought we would be buying guns.
‘But it’s a normal thing now. Something must be done for the world to get better.’ ‘I’ve been donating to buy guns for Ukraine for a while now. And will do so until the victory.’
Ukraine has effectively used the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 armed drones, which have become a symbol of the Ukrainian military to its supporters.
Kyiv has purchased 20 of them in recent years and ordered a further 16 in early 2022, delivered in March.
Lithuania’s defence ministry has offered to facilitate the purchase and said it would sign a letter of intent with the company next week.
Eastern and Baltic countries have donated large amounts of Soviet-era military equipment, which Ukraine’s soldiers will be familiar with.
Lethal aid from the UK and US has focussed on more modern, Nato-standard weapons, such as next-generation anti-tank missiles.
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