Drone maker shuts down operations in Russia and Ukraine

A Phantom 4, developed by major Chinese consumer drone maker DJI, flies during its demonstration flight in Tokyo, Thursday, March 3, 2016. Drone company DJI Technology Co said Tuesday, April 27, 2022 that it has temporarily suspended its business operations in Russia and Ukraine to prevent the use of its drones in combat, in a rare case of a Chinese company’s withdrawal from Russia.

AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File

BEIJING (AP) — Drone company DJI Technology Co has temporarily suspended business operations in Russia and Ukraine to prevent the use of its drones in combat, in a rare case of a Chinese company pulling out of Russia over the war.

“DJI is internally reassessing compliance requirements in various jurisdictions. Pending the ongoing review, DJI will temporarily suspend all business operations in Russia and Ukraine,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Many Western brands and companies pulled out of the Russian market due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, but Chinese companies continued to operate there. Beijing has refrained from publicly criticizing Russia over the war.

Both Ukraine and Russia are thought to use DJI drones in combat, although the company maintains that its products are intended for civilian use.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Federov wrote an open letter last month calling on DJI to block sales of its drones to Russia, saying Russian troops were using “DJI products in Ukraine to navigate their missiles to kill civilians. “.

The AeroScope system installed in DJI drones allows the detection and monitoring of other drones and their operators in the vicinity via special receivers. The concern is that the Russians could use the AeroScope system to attack Ukrainian drone pilots.

DJI has dismissed allegations that it leaked data on Ukraine’s military positions to Russia, after German retailer Mediamarkt cited Russia’s use of DJI drones during the war as the reason it had removed the company’s products from its shelves.

Last week, DJI said in a statement that its drones are not marketed or sold for military purposes. He said he “unequivocally opposes attempts to attach weapons” to his products.

“We will never accept the use of our products to cause harm, and we will continue to strive to improve the world through our work,” the company said.

Another Chinese company, ride-hailing company Didi Global, reversed its decision to pull out of Russia after being criticized by members of the Chinese public for bowing to Western pressure.

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