“Incredible”: Turkey gives Lithuanian crowdfunders a free drone for Ukraine

The Turkish defense contractor has agreed to hand over an armed drone worth $ 6 million (4.7 million pounds), which Lithuania funded to support Ukraine’s war against Russian invaders.

The donation of the Bayraktar TB2 drone is part of what appears to be a strengthening of security and defense ties between Ankara and Vilnius ahead of a major NATO summit in Madrid later this month.

“Unbelievable, but Turkey just agreed to tell Bayraktar that Lithuania was collecting money for free!” Lithuanian Minister of Defense Arvidas Anusauskas wrote on Thursday in a tweet sprinkled with capital letters, exclamations and emojis.

Millions raised so far as part of a Lithuanian journalist’s campaign to buy a drone will be spent on the purchase of precision missiles for unmanned aerial vehicles and other support for Ukraine, he wrote.

Weapons manufactured by Istanbul’s Baykar Technologies, became famous its effective use by Ukrainian forces against captured Russians. A photo released on Thursday shows Mr Anususkas’ deputy Vilius Semaska ​​posing next to Bayraktar TB2 along with top Baykar executives Khaluk and Selcuk Bayraktar, son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“The people of Lithuania have proudly raised funds to buy Bayraktar TB2 for Ukraine,” Baykar said. said in the statement. “After learning about this,” Baikar “transfers free Bayraktar TB2 to Lithuania and asks to transfer these funds to Ukraine for humanitarian aid.”

TV journalist and activist Andrews Tapinas raised money in three and a half days, mostly with donations of less than £ 50, the press release said.

“We are also a major challenge for every European,” Mr Tapinas was quoted as saying in a press release. “Put pressure on your stars, your business and your politicians by asking them: why can’t we do the same [that] this crazy country has done in just a few days ”.

News of Turkey’s donation of the drone came the day after Mr Semasko signed an agreement paving the way for co-operation with Turkey’s Defense Industry Agency, which oversees the country’s arms industry. By law, Ankara must approve any arms exports.

“There are plans to purchase drones, possibly Bayraktar,” Anusaskas told reporters on Tuesday, declining to specify specific purchases. “What previously seemed unconvincing or inappropriate for our conditions is changing, and attitudes are changing.”

Both NATO countries will take part in a potentially controversial summit on June 29 in Madrid, where the military alliance will discuss the possibility of including Sweden and Finland in the bloc.

Turkey has opposed the accession of two long-neutral countries because of their alleged support for Kurdish autonomy-minded organizations, which Ankara sees as a security threat.

Lithuania, like the other two Baltic states, Estonia and Latvia, is gaining influence and fame as one of the most outspoken and active members of a special coalition supporting Ukraine against Russian invaders. All three former Soviet republics are among the top five donors in Ukraine in terms of GDP.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had a telephone conversation with colleagues from the Baltic states who are historically threatened by various Moscow leaders, in which he “stressed the US commitment to Article 5 of NATO”, which will cause the whole alliance to intervene in any attack on a member. according to a White House press release.

“Incredible”: Turkey gives Lithuanian crowdfunders a free drone for Ukraine

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