Chinese drone company DJI temporarily suspended its operations in both Russia and Ukraine to prevent the use of its drones in combat operations in the war, becoming one of the first major Chinese companies to pull out of Russia over the war which Beijing refuses to condemn.
“DJI is internally reassessing compliance requirements in various jurisdictions. Pending the current review, DJI will temporarily suspend all business activities in Russia and Ukraine,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
This follows another statement the company issued last week regarding the use of its drones for military purposes.
“We want to reiterate a position we have long held: our products are made to improve people’s lives and benefit the world, and we absolutely deplore any use of our products to cause harm. DJI has only ever made products for civilian use; they are not designed for military applications.”
Many Western companies have withdrawn from the Russian market after Moscow launched its war on Kyiv on February 24, but Chinese company maintained their operations there. Beijing has refused to take a public stand against its ally Russia over the war.
Drones have played an instrumental role in the Russian-Ukrainian war, with both sides using them in combat.
Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Federov wrote an open letter to DJI on March 16 urging the company to block its sales to Russia.
“In 21 days of the war, Russian troops has already killed 100 Ukrainian children. they are using DJI products in order to navigate their missile. @DJIGlobal are you sure you want to be a partner in these murders? Block your products that are helping Russia to kill the Ukrainians!” he wrote on Twitter.
DJI drones use the AeroScope system which according to the company is a “comprehensive drone detection platform that rapidly identifies UAV communication links, gathering information such as flight status, paths, and other information in real-time.”
This monitoring data can be used to locate the pilots of drones, marking them as easy targets in combat.