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Chinese drone maker DJI leaves Russia and Ukraine • The Register

In a first for a major Chinese tech company, drone maker DJI Technologies announced on Tuesday that it will temporarily suspend operations in Russia and Ukraine.

“DJI is internally reassessing compliance requirements in various jurisdictions. Pending the ongoing review, DJI will temporarily suspend all business activities in Russia and Ukraine. We are committed to our customers, partners and other stakeholders regarding the temporary suspension of commercial operations in the territories concerned, ” declared DJI in a canned statement.

Last week, the company released another statement stating that it does not market or sell its products for military purposes and “unequivocally opposes attempts to attach weapons to [its] products.” DJI also said it “declined to customize or enable changes that would allow [its] products for military use.

“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 manufactured products for civilian use; they are not designed for military applications,” DJI insisted.

The company said it would terminate business relationships with any distributors, resellers or business partners selling its products to customers intending to use them for military purposes.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mukailo Fedorov tweeted last month that Russian forces used DJI products to fly missiles and assassinate Ukrainians.

The tweet above was not referring to the drones themselves, but rather to DJI AeroScope drone detection platform. The product identifies UAV communication links to understand drone behavior and trajectories, and could potentially reveal the location of a drone pilot.

DJI made to respondto Mykhailo, disclaiming any liability for misuse and stating that the AeroScope functionality of its drones cannot be disabled.

Ukrainian users reported in early March that AeroScope was no longer available within the country’s borders, but the product continued to work in Russia. The reports led DJI to deny claims that it aided the Russian military last month.

Although Ukraine has military-grade UAVs like the Bayraktar TB2, civilians have been known to use low-end drones to record Russian war crimes and to counter attack Russian forces.

Russia is also a known user of drones in pursuit of its military objectives, but relies on military-spec kit rather than DJI’s pro-grade products.

For example, Forbes reported Russia is a proponent of the Orlan-10 – allocating the military-grade drones worth $100,000 each designed for the Russian Armed Forces to artillery units.

DJI’s decision to leave the territory is notable as Beijing and Moscow recently announced a renewed and deeper partnership. Chinese government officials have been reluctant to make any allegations or criticism of Russia, or to take sides in the war. The Washington Post reported in February that DJI and Beijing were very close, with DJI receiving funding from several state-backed Chinese investors.

DJI is on the US Entity List, which means it has been cut off from access to US technology and US forces are barred from using its products. The United States also banned investment in the company, citing DJI’s involvement in human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

While the drone company is the first major Chinese firm to suspend sales to Russia and Ukraine, another sanctioned Chinese product maker, Huawei, furloughed its staff and stopped taking orders from Russia. at the beginning of the month. Huawei, however, continued to post jobs in the region, signaling either an HR error or an intention to resume Russian operations. ®