Russia’s war in Ukraine has prompted one of the world’s largest cooperation efforts in recent history. The West donated a lot of financial and military aid to help Ukraine with its defensive efforts against Russia. Just recently, Lithuanian citizens have come together and donated whatever money they could to help buy Ukraine a Bayraktar TB2 drone, a UAV that has been instrumental in their war against Russia.
Lithuanian online broadcaster Laisves TV organized the fundraiser in what is one of the more unusual aid efforts to help Ukraine. Nonetheless, the citizens of Lithuania managed to raise $5.4 million (€5 million) from small donations in their country, with Lithuanians chipping in between 10 to 500 Euros to help the war effort. As a result, they had $3.2 million in just three days, raising the full amount needed to purchase the drone a few days later.
Laisves TV founder and journalist Andrius Tapinas stated that Lithuanians would not just stand and watch how Europe had been unwilling to help Ukraine gain weapons. Tapinas is probably referring to countries such as Germany, which still has reservations about sending Ukraine heavy offensive weapons, being lukewarm to sending munitions to Ukraine despite recently agreeing to send German Gepard tanks to the war-torn country.
5 million Eur. for Bayractar for @Ukraine. We did it in 3 days! ✌
Most donations of crowdfunding were small, between 10-500 €. #Lithuania #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦#Proud2beLithuanian pic.twitter.com/fq0P4QZTcl
— #Lithuania 🇱🇹 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 (@Lithuania) May 28, 2022
“Before this war started, none of us thought that we would be buying guns. But it’s a normal thing now. Something must be done for the world to get better,” Agne Belickaite said. She is one of the Lithuanians who immediately donated, contributing 100 euros when the drive was launched last Wednesday.
“I’ve been donating to buy guns for Ukraine for a while now. And will do so until the victory,” she added. This motivation to donate weapons to Ukraine is fueled not just because Russia could potentially attack Lithuania but also because Ukraine and Lithuania have a shared history together. Both countries used to be a part of the Soviet Union before splitting from the USSR in 1990, the first Soviet state to do so.
“Novel, unexpected fundraisers fire people up again. It’s the third month of the invasion… it’s important to avoid getting used to it,” Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said to Laisves TV.
Ukraine was very much thankful to Lithuania, especially its citizens, for contributing to their war effort and heeding Kyiv’s call for more weapons as Russia obtained some success in eastern Ukraine.
“This is the first case in history when ordinary people raise money to buy something like a Bayraktar. It is unprecedented, it is unbelievable,” Ukrainian Ambassador to Lithuania Beshta Petro told Laisves TV.
The official Ukraine Twitter account thanked Lithuania as well with a tweet:
“Simply wow, @Lithuania 💛💚❤️ We will never forget what you did for us on so many fronts. Ačiū to every Lithuanian who donated, your present will be put to good use 😎,” they said, replying to Lithuania’s Twitter account.
The Bayraktar TB2 drone has been one of the weapons that Ukraine has used since the beginning of the war, obtaining a cult following in the country as it had been extremely effective in air reconnaissance and attacking Russian armored columns early on during the initial Russian advance to Kyiv. It is not only famous within military circles in Ukraine, but it has also become widely popular among Ukrainian citizens because of its effectiveness in clearing out Russian forces from their cities.
— Igor Sushko (@igorsushko) May 23, 2022
In fact, the weapon is now revered in Ukraine. The Ukrainians had even made a song after it to celebrate the Bayraktar TB2 drone. Ukrainian soldier Taras Borovok wrote the song and poked fun at the Russian forces as they failed to take the Ukrainian capital. The song is now very popular in Ukraine, with the radio stations playing it, subsequently becoming a song of patriotism in protests against the Russian atrocities in Ukraine. Selçuk Bayraktar, the Chief Technology Officer of Baykar, the Turkish company that makes the drones, has also been hailed as the “second-biggest hero” of Ukraine after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Bayraktar TB2 drone has been very successful in Ukraine, to say the least. It is one of the conflicts that has definitely put the TB2 drone on the map, gaining international recognition for its capabilities.
🇺🇦⚡️🇷🇺Another Video of the Ukrainian TB2, in action.
— The Rage X | Warzone (@thewarrage) March 10, 2022
It’s been recognized as one of the drones that are changing the methods of how modern conflicts are fought. While it is true that drones have been in service for quite some time, it is the first time in recent years that the true capabilities of UAVs are shining, especially with the war virtually being broadcasted on social media sites. These drones are able to avoid detection by SAMs, enabling them to sneak up on these systems and destroy them. More so, it’s a relatively cheap way to take out armored vehicles, as seen in Ukraine.
They also playe an important role as decoys in the attack and sinking of the Russian cruiser Moskva.
People familiar with military doctrines know that air superiority is vital in offensive operations, but so far, Russia has been unable to come anywhere close to this and will not likely be dominating the Ukrainian skies anytime soon. The Bayraktar TB2 has definitely exploited this weakness and is more than earning its keep in the war.
Is drone warfare here to stay? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section or during our town hall sessions. We’d love to hear your thoughts on it!