ANKARA (Reuters) – Ukraine received almost 30 times as much defence industry equipment from Turkey in first quarter as it did a year earlier, while it prepared for and fought against Russian invasion, official data showed.
Turkey exported $59.1 million of such products to Ukraine in the period, compared with $1.9 million in the first quarter of 2021, data published by the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly showed.
The assembly, an industry association, did not specifically identify the equipment.
Ukraine has bought more than 20 Bayraktar TB2 armed drones from Turkish company Baykar in recent years and ordered a further 16 on January 27. That batch was delivered in early March.
Ankara and Kyiv have long-standing defence-cooperation ties.
A member of the NATO military alliance, Turkey shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, has good ties with both and has offered to mediate.
While it has continued to supply drones to Ukraine, it has also avoided imposing sanctions against Moscow.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly criticised Russia for invading Ukraine, but also made clear that he wants communication channels to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to remain open.
Since launching an invasion that has uprooted a quarter of Ukraine’s population, Russia has failed to capture a single major city. Moscow describes its actions as a “special military operation”.
Ankara’s total first-quarter defence exports were up 48.6% on a year earlier, the industry association’s data showed.
In 2021 Turkey exported $3.224 billion in defence products, an increase of 41.5 percent compared with 2020.
(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Daren Butler and Bradley Perrett)