Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 drones become symbol of the Ukrainian resistance

Turkey's Bayraktar TB2 drones are being lauded for countering Russian attacks against Ukraine and have effectively become a public relations victory for the resistance by Kyiv, CNN reported on Monday.

The combat-tested drones, which are appealing due to their cost, have been praised by Western and Ukrainian officials since the war broke out, CNN said, adding that the UAVs’ popularity has prompted Ukrainians to even name their pets after the drone.

Ukraine has purchased at least 20 Bayraktar TB2s - medium altitude long endurance (MALE) drones -  from Turkey in recent years, and has been using the armed UAVs effectively against Russian forces in the invasion, which began on February 24.

A popular Ukrainian song has been dedicated to a drone while a newborn lemur at the Kyiv zoo and a puppy at the Kyiv police dog training center have also been named after the drone, according to CNN. 

But the Turkish-made drone’s popularity is not limited to Ukraine.

Last month, the British defense secretary Ben Wallace reportedly told U.K. lawmakers the drones were "delivering munitions" onto Russian "artillery and their supply lines,” noting that they had been "incredibly important" to slow down and block the advance by Russia, CNN said.

Samuel Bendett, adjunct senior fellow at the Center of Naval Analyses Russia Studies (CNAS), told the network that the drones "are part of the Ukrainian social media campaign that is executed very well by the Ukrainian military and civilians."

The TB2 and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) being developed in Turkey have placed the country on the drone map, along with the United States, China and Israel, according to Bendett.

"I think it is one of the symbols of resistance, it gives them hope," CNN cited Selçuk Bayraktar, the chief technology officer of company that produces the drone, Baykar Technologies, and son-in-law Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as saying.

Reuters on Friday reported that Moscow had complained to Turkey over its sale of Bayraktar TB2 armed drones to Ukraine, citing a high-level Turkish bureaucrat.

Turkey, which maintains good ties with both Russia and NATO, is working to leverage its ties with Kyiv and Moscow to take on the role of mediator.

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