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Lithuania shows off 'crowdfunded' military drone it's giving to Ukraine

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By Euronews  with AFP
A Bayraktar TB2 drone is displayed during a rehearsal of a military parade dedicated to Independence Day in Kyiv on 20 August 2021
A Bayraktar TB2 drone is displayed during a rehearsal of a military parade dedicated to Independence Day in Kyiv on 20 August 2021   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

Lithuania showed off a crowdfunded Turkish-made military drone on Wednesday, which it plans to send to Ukraine to help the war-torn country fight Russia's invasion.

"This weapon will be sent to Ukraine immediately after it has been presented to the public," Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said at a press conference at the Baltic state's northern air base in Siauliai.

Lithuanians raised €5.9 million over three days to buy the drone for Ukraine. However, inspired by the act of generosity, the Turkish manufacturer Bayraktar announced that it was donating it instead.

Part of the funds was then used to equip the drone, with the rest devoted to financing humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

Andrius Tapinas, the founder of the Internet broadcaster Laisves TV, which organised the public fundraising campaign, said that beyond procuring the drone, "we showed the world what a small united nation can do”.

Ukraine's ambassador to Lithuania, Petro Beshta, praised the "leadership" of the Baltic nation of 2.8 million inhabitants and the “synergy between society and state authorities".

“Creative solutions and initiatives like this can help us win the war,” he told reporters on Wednesday.