Lithuania launches campaign to crowdfund air defense radars for Ukraine

Israeli Elta radar
Ryan Seelbach / Wikipedia

Multiple Lithuanian charities launched a campaign to crowdfund several air defense radars to protect Ukrainian infrastructure from Russian missile and drone attacks. 

The organizers of the campaign ask for donations to purchase “multifunctional tactical radars” that could “watch over the airspace around strategically important Ukrainian objects as powerplants, water towers, etc. that help to ensure the usual life of ordinary Ukrainians during wartime.” 

The campaign was launched by a conglomerate of Lithuanian charity organizations and media companies including Blue/Yellow, Laisves TV, 1K Fund and Strong Together, along with Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT. 

The campaign – called “Radarom”, portmanteau of Lithuanian words for “radar” and “let’s make it together” – was launched on January 30, 2023. 

Though the exact system was not specified, organizers said it would be procured from Israel. 

“The most advanced Israeli-made radars cost between €0.5 and €1.5 million, and more than one is needed,” Lithuanian journalist Edmundas Jakilaitis wrote in a Facebook post. “I believe that together we can buy a lot of them.”

“These are going to be Israeli-made radars of the latest generations, battle-tested and capable of detecting both small drones and large missiles,” Andrius Tapinas, the founder of Laisves TV, explained in his post. “We came to an agreement with Israeli manufacturers, the radars are ready, all we need is money.” 

The organizers of the campaign expect to raise at least 5 millions for 5 radars, Tapinas added. 

A history of successful campaigns 

The organizations that banded together for Radarom have been involved in numerous previous campaigns to crowdfund equipment for Ukrainian armed forces. 

Notably, in May 2022, Laisves TV collected €5 million during its campaign to raise money for a Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone. The drone was later donated by Baykar free of charge, with the money being used to purchase other equipment

Blue/Yellow, a non-governmental organization established in 2014, has been crowdfunding non-lethal supplies for Ukrainian armed forces and volunteers, regularly supplying equipment like observation drones, anti-drone rifles and armor. 

1K Fund, a spinoff of Lithuanian media organization 1K, reported having previously collected over €3.4 million to purchase vehicles, drones and other kinds of equipment and delivering it to Ukraine. 

Continuous strikes

Russia has been performing regular strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure since August 2022, damaging the country’s electricity grid, water systems and other installations. 

The strikes are conducted with a mix of cruise missiles and Shahed kamikaze drones, purchased from Iran. 

Although Ukraine claims it is capable of shooting down most of the incoming projectiles, the missiles that did get through led to tens of casualties, as well as significant damage to infrastructure. 

The attacks prompted Western countries to scramble with providing various air defense systems to Ukraine, from Cold War-era anti-aircraft guns and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) to latest long-range systems such as US-made Patriot. 

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