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How the funds raised by Polish people on Bayraktar helped the Armed Forces of Ukraine: "Come Back Alive completes $1.8 million international project

The Come Back Alive Foundation for Competent Army Assistance has handed over two maintenance workshops worth €740,000 to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The charity has thus completed a project to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine, funded by about $1.8 million from the money raised by the Polish people on Bayraktar for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In July last year, more than PLN 22.5 million was raised in Poland for the Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicle. More than 200,000 people joined the initiative on the crowdfunding platform. The Turkish company Baykar decided to donate the drone to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Baykar directed the funds collected by the journalist Slawomir Serakowski  for Bayraktar TB2 in the amount of PLN 5.13 million and $600,000 to Come Back Alive foundation to be used for the needs of Ukrainian Armed Forces

“We need to do everything to stop the Russian invasion together with Ukrainians. Every Pole feels this and wants to help. I am proud that not only our government is allocating funds to support Ukraine, but people are also giving their personal money. Poland will stand with Ukraine until victory. I am grateful to the Foundation, all public and charitable organizations that are doing a great job to bring it closer,” says Eliza Dzwonkiewicz, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Lviv.

For PLN 5.13 million, or about $1.2 million, the Foundation purchased a mobile modular camp from a Polish company. It was handed over to the Training Centre of the Territorial Defence Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at the end of July. 

Another $600,000 was spent on maintenance workshops, which have now been delivered to the Naval Infantry Command of the Ukrainian Navy and the Air Assault Forces Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. 

“Cooperation with Baykar is not just a project, but a strategic step that has opened up new opportunities to support our defenders,” comments Ruslana Velychko, crisis manager, volunteer with the Come Back Alive project and First Deputy Executive Director of the Ukrainian Veterans Fund.

– This cooperation not only provides direct access to important technical resources. It has become an incentive to liberalize Ukraine’s legislation and introduce systemic changes that have reduced customs duties and taxes for all foundations, organisations and people involved in charity. It is with this cooperation that we started the changes that have enabled not only special exporters, who for a long time held the monopoly right to purchase military or dual-use goods, but also foundations and organisations.

We are grateful to our partners for their support and believe that through the International Charitable Foundation “Come Back Alive” we will be able to do even more for our heroes.”

Ruslana Velychko, crisis manager, volunteer with the Come Back Alive project and First Deputy Executive Director of the Ukrainian Veterans Fund

In 2022, Come Back Alive set a new standard for charitable organisations in Ukraine by obtaining a unique permit for the international procurement of military and dual-use goods, including lethal weapons. The Foundation became the first and only non-governmental organisation in Ukraine to purchase the Bayraktar TB2 system.

This historic step was reinforced by the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation with Baykar in August last year. The document not only formalises the relationship between the two parties, but also opens up new horizons for a long-term defence procurement strategy.

“This cooperation not only expands opportunities for Come Back Alive, but also serves as a model for other NGOs seeking to actively engage in supporting Ukraine’s defence efforts. This partnership raises the bar on how to effectively and transparently engage the non-governmental sector in strategic national security issues,” Ruslana Velychko said.

 “Collaboration with the ‘Come Back Alive’ fund and the Ukrainian Armed Forces transcends mere business partnership. It serves as a testament to our unwavering commitment to the principles of international security and stability,” underscores Haluk Bayraktar. “This partnership not only strengthens the Ukrainian Armed Forces but also reflects our belief in the potential of innovation as a key instrument for ensuring global stability.

Our second joint project within the framework of this trilateral international agreement became possible thanks to a reliable partnership and mutual trust. This is not just about supporting Ukraine in its needs, but also a concrete embodiment of our corporate mission—developing modern technological solutions. The technical maintenance workshops are a vivid example of such a solution, one that meets the challenges of the modern world.”

“We are grateful to the people of Poland who have united to help Ukraine, and to Baykar , that  has set an example of supporting our country in the war,” says Taras Chmut, director of the Come Back Alive foundation. “Thanks to the trust of our international partners, their confidence in our ability to use the funds competently and transparently, we have implemented this project and significantly strengthened the Ukrainian army in terms of training its main resource – people – and in the efficiency of using Western equipment and maintaining its combat capability.”

Taras Chmut, director of the Come Back Alive foundation

The maintenance workshops developed by the specialists of the Come Back Alive Foundation are the embodiment of modern technological solutions created at the request of the military. This complex will continue to be manufactured for the Foundation, as it is an intellectual development of the Come Back Alive Foundation. The Foundation will expand the areas where the workshops can be used and is ready to cooperate with the leaders of the automotive industry in Europe and Ukraine.

Each workshop is equipped not only with standard maintenance tools but also with additional equipment such as a manipulator, generator, compressor and mobile tyre fitting. This makes them versatile and irreplaceable for fast and efficient support of military equipment in the field.

Last year, the Come Back Alive Foundation purchased six of these workshops for the Defence Forces. Since then, their crews have carried out more than 1,100 repairs of Western military vehicles: American HMMWVs, Cougars, MaxxPro, Turkish Kirpis, Australian Bushmasters and others. Thanks to them, military specialists return off-road vehicles and armored personnel carriers to service right on the front line, without waiting for them to be delivered to stationary workshops. 

“A new modern vehicle, reliable and comfortable, is a guarantee that people will work efficiently, on time and effectively. These maintenance workshops are mobile and fully autonomous – they have a generator and everything you need to work in the field. They are equipped according to the drawings of those who use them, in accordance with their needs, experience and wishes. For example, the tool storage system is well thought out – everything is in its place, so the mechanic doesn’t waste valuable time looking for parts,” says Ihor Simutin, Major of the Armed Forces of  Ukraine, co-developer of the maintenance workshops. “The quality of work provided by such equipment changes the army from within for the better, setting a high standard”.