Ukrainian volunteers have started offering a unique souvenir in exchange for donations – a piece of a skin from a shot down Russian Sukhoi Su-34 attack jet.
The initiative is organized by Drones for Ukraine Foundation, headed by volunteer, Yura Vysoven.
“For a long time, I have been thinking about how to gather more money to buy drones for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It is obvious that we must look for money abroad. It is also obvious that everybody who wanted to donate, donated already. It is necessary to involve the general public. It means that we must give something for a donation. Ukrainian postal stamps are great, but we must find something cooler,” Vysoven wrote in a Facebook post.
He continued: “We collected pieces of a shot-down Su-34 and made these souvenirs from them. Not for sale, only for those who donates over $1000 for drones.”
The Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback is a strike aircraft based on the successful Su-27 fighter jet. Introduced in 2014, the Su-34 is one of the newest aircraft in the Russian Air Force. According to open source data collected by the Oryx blog, at least nine Su-34s can be visually confirmed as lost by Russia during the first two months of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The jet used by Drones for Ukraine Foundation was downed in early March 2022 near Kyiv. According to Ukrainian military, it was registered as RF-81251, had a callsign Red 31, and belonged to the 227th bomber aviation regiment of the Russian Air Force.
Commenting on his reddit post, Vysoven provided a gallery of images depicting the full transformation of pieces of the Su-34 into keyrings. It appears that pieces of the wing were mostly used, owing to being flat enough.
“We made 48 of them [the souvenirs – AeroTime]. I think we can make 100 more. A very small amount of material can be used. Most fragments are not of appropriate shape,” Vysoven told AeroTime.
According to Vysoven, the foundation has already collected $30,000 thanks to these efforts and is currently working on finding appropriate pieces of a downed Ka-52 attack helicopter to expand its assortment of souvenirs.
Vysoven provided AeroTime with photos showing at least four DJI Mavic-series drones, alongside tablet computers, bought by the foundation and provided to Ukrainian soldiers. According to Vysoven, the Drones for Ukraine Foundation’s website is currently being updated with the details on the purchases made with the funds raised.