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Crowdfunding a War: How Online Appeals Are Bringing Weapons to Ukraine


A Ukrainian drone operator demonstrates a modified racing drone in a workshop in western Ukraine that is providing support to the country’s military.

Credit: Finbarr O'Reilly/The New York Times

In a workshop in western Ukraine, a technician adjusted a metal bracket that had been attached to a racing drone so that it could carry a grenade, turning an aircraft sold in hobby stores into a lethal weapon.

Standing nearby were two American entrepreneurs, who had arrived at the workshop bearing gifts of a dozen other drones, a small installment in what has becoming a torrent of military aid to Ukraine. But this is not part of the state-sponsored arms shipments being raced into Ukraine to help the country fight a more powerful Russian army in the east.

Instead, the drones are part of a multifaceted, multimillion dollar crowdfunding campaign that is producing millions of dollars in donations, as well as a bounty of smaller weapons and other military equipment for the Ukrainian military. To drive donations, Ukrainian officials and private companies are making direct online appeals to sympathetic foreign citizens, even as they continue to press governments for heavier weaponry, too.

From The New York Times
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