Chinese drone-maker suspending operations in Russia, Ukraine

FILE – 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 business activities in Russia and Ukraine to prevent use of its drones in combat, in a rare case of a Chinese company pulling out of Russia. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

Chinese drone-maker DJI announced on Tuesday that it will temporarily suspend its operations in Russia and Ukraine. 

“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.

DJI directly said that the decision was in an effort to reassess sales compliance “in light of current hostilities.”

A company spokesperson told Chinese media that the pause was “not a statement targeting any particular country but rather a statement about our principles,” The Washington Post reported.

Ukrainian officials previously accused DJI of leaking information about its military to Moscow, though the company has denied those claims categorically, Reuters reported.

But the company says it opposes any military use of its products, CNN noted.

In March, just three weeks into the invasion, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov wrote a letter published publicly saying Russian troops “are using DJI products in order to navigate their missile.”

“Are you sure you want to be a partner in these murders?” he asked the company in a tweet. “Block your products that are helping russia to kill the Ukrainians!” 

The Shenzhen-based company is the world’s largest maker of consumer and industrial drones.

The decision for the Chinese company to halt operations in Russia is particularly rare, as China has looked to strengthen its ties to Moscow amid the invasion even as Western countries impose strong sanctions on Russia for its unprovoked attack. 

“No matter how the international landscape may change, China will continue to strengthen strategic coordination with Russia for win-win cooperation, jointly safeguard the common interests of the two countries and promote the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said in a statement earlier this month.

Tags China DJI Drone military Mykhailo Fedorov russia ukraine

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