In a surprising twist, Turkey will offer a Bayraktar TB2 armed drone for Lithuanians to give to Ukraine.
In late May 2022, Lithuanians had raised €5.9 million in less than four days to offer a TB2 drone for the Ukrainian armed forces. The crowdfunding was an initiative of local media channel Laisves TV.
On June 2, 2022, Laisves TV founder Andrius Tapinas announced that Turkey would instead gift the aircraft for Lithuanians to offer to Ukraine. This emerged after a meeting of the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense with its Turkish counterpart.
Consequently, €1.5 million of the money collected will still be transferred to the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense to acquire additional weaponry for the TB2.
“The rest of the money – 4.4 million – according to the wish of the gift-giving Turkish side will be used for humanitarian, defense, and logistic help for Ukraine,” Tapinas explained. “We will have a meeting with experts in Lithuania and Ukraine and will decide how the money will be spent.
“The Turks also promised to decorate Bayraktar with the Lithuanian and Ukrainian colors,” Arvydas Anušauskas, the Lithuanian Minister of Defense, added.
It is UNBELIEVABLE but just agreed to give the Bayraktar that gathered money for, FOR FREE. It is amazing! For the gathered money we will buy the needed ammunition for the Bayraktar and the rest of money will also go for support of . Thank you Türkiye!— Arvydas Anušauskas (@a_anusauskas) June 2, 2022
The delivery will also be accelerated by the drone maker Baykar Technologies, with an objective to fly the aircraft to Lithuania in the next three weeks. It will eventually be delivered to the Ukrainian armed forces currently fighting back the invasion of their country by Russia.