An “Adopt A Drone” scheme to buy drones for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, organised by volunteers in Estonia, has raised more than €100,000 from donors in Estonia and around the world.
The money has been used to purchase 38 commercial drones and spare batteries that have been delivered from Estonia to Ukrainian units on the frontline. Donors to AdoptADrone.org are given the opportunity to name the drones they fund with a message going to the Ukrainian defenders who receive them. The service members have been sending back photos and videos to show how effectively they are being used to locate invaders, correct fire and even drop light munitions.
Lelizaveta Karamushka, a Ukrainian volunteer working with Adopt A Drone to coordinate the deliveries to frontline units, said Ukrainian service members have been incredibly grateful for all the donations that have arrived from Estonia.
“Ukrainian defenders desperately need more of these drones as they keep giving us lots of feedback about how they are proving their value on the battlefield and what they most need next,” she said in a statement.
More advanced drones with night vision
“Behind the scenes, there is a lot of boring paperwork and co-ordination required to turn those donations into drones on the frontline where they are currently most needed, but every euro raised helps eliminate many times that amount in Russian military equipment that would otherwise be used to inflict greater suffering on Ukrainians.”
The donations are collected by Lift99 hub, which has coworking spaces in Tallinn and Kyiv and also arranges the deliveries through separate private donations towards vehicles and other equipment.
The Ukrainian units initially requested Mavic 3 drones. As more funds have arrived, the initiative has been able to secure more advanced drones with night vision, which are at the top of the wish list requested by the Ukrainian units.
The Ukrainian service members are asked to send at least one photo on receiving the drones to add both an extra layer of assurance to donors and to help fundraise for more.