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What just happened? Drone giant DJI has suspended sales in Russia and Ukraine following reports that Russian troops are using its products to navigate missiles. The company says the move is not a statement about any country "but a statement about our principles."
Reuters reports that DJI has become the first major Chinese firm to pull its products from Russia. Ride-hailing company Didi Global had announced it was pulling out of Russia and Kazakhstan in February but changed its mind following pressure from social media users in China accusing it of succumbing to US pressure.
A DJI spokesperson emphasized that, unlike the slew of US companies ranging from Apple to Intel, its decision was not a protest against Russia over its invasion. "DJI abhors any use of our drones to cause harm, and we are temporarily suspending sales in these countries in order to help ensure no-one uses our drones in combat," a spokesperson told Reuters.
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! pic.twitter.com/4HJcTXFxoY— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) March 16, 2022
In March, Ukrainian vice president Mykhailo Fedorov sent a letter pleading with DJI CEO and founder Frank Wang to stop selling products to Russia. Fedorov said the Russian army was using an extended version of the DJI AeroScope drone detection program and that DJI products were being used to kill civilians.
Last month, German electronics retailer MediaMarkt removed DJI drones from its shelves over claims the Chinese firm was leaking data on Ukrainian military positions to Russia, an allegation DJI called "utterly false."
DJI said that while it had noticed footage online that suggested the Russian military was using its drones, it had not been able to confirm this and had no control over the use of its products. The company recently put out a statement saying it does not sell drones for military use, and its distributors, resellers, and other business partners have agreed not to sell its products for this purpose or help modify them for the military.