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Three days after a Lithuanian crowdfunding effort raised $5.4 million to buy Ukraine a Bayraktar TB2 drone, the Turkish company that makes the unmanned military aircraft said Thursday it’s donating one for free instead.
The drone maker, Baykar Tech, requested in a tweet that the Lithuanian effort’s funds raised be used instead for humanitarian work. But at least some of the money will still go toward the military effort.
“For the gathered money we will buy the needed ammunition for the Bayraktar and the rest of money will also go for support of [Ukraine],” Ukrainian Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas tweeted in response on Thursday, thanking Turkey.
The Bayraktar TB2 has been an important part of Ukrainian military drone use after Russia invaded the country in February, helping to counter Russia’s massive invasion force with attacks on heavy artillery. TB2s, with a 39-foot wingspan, can launch up to four laser-guided bombs and fly for 27 hours.
Ukrainians also have used small commercial drones for surveillance and for dropping smaller explosives on the Russian military. Many of those smaller drones, including dozens of DJI Mavic 3 models, were purchased through a Ukrainian foundation called Come Back Alive that uses donations to purchase supplies for the Ukrainian military.