Ukrainian makes keychains from Russian fighter plane wreckage to fund war effort


Kyiv It doesn’t matter to forge swords into ploughshares; A Ukrainian businessman turns wreckage from a downed Russian fighter plane into souvenir keychains and sells them abroad to help the war effort.

“A lot of my friends tell me, ‘$1,000 – nobody will give you that for that piece of metal, that’s crazy,'” said Iurii Vysoven, founder of Drones for Ukraine.

“I woke up in the morning and understood on my phone that ($20,000 to) $30,000 had already been raised and we see this constant flow of messages from people asking questions and telling (us) that they are donating more tell us it’s an amazing idea.”

The plane, a Russian two-seat Su-34 tactical fighter-bomber, was shot down over the town of Borodianka, northwest of Kyiv, in early March, according to the Ukrainian military, as Russian forces attempted to capture and hold the area.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has released pictures of the wreck, which had the stern number RF-81251 and the call sign 31 Red.

After the Russians withdrew and concentrated their invasion on eastern Ukraine, Vysoven asked the region’s defenders if he could have some of the debris strewn across farmland.

The soldiers told him that both pilots of the plane had been killed. Among the wreckage shown by the ministry were a helmet printed with the last three letters of a surname in Russian ending in “-NOV” and an empty leather holster marked “Buryat” – the name of an ethnic group living in Siberia .

Russia does not confirm details of its military casualties, and Reuters has not been able to verify the circumstances of the plane’s crash.

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