With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entering week four, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov has called on DJI founder and CEO Frank Wang to “end any relationships” with the aggressor country. Insisting that Russian troops are using DJI’s products to navigate missiles to kill Ukrainian civilians, the minister has urged the Chinese tech giant to “block all DJI products” purchased and activated in Russia, Syria, and Lebanon.
Fedorov, who also serves as the Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, has spent the last couple of weeks pressuring tech companies, including Apple and Google, to sever ties with Russia.
His strategy is to write to company leaders and then post a photo of that letter on Twitter. This approach has produced mixed results so far. But there’s little doubt that 31-year-old Fedorov, Ukraine’s youngest cabinet minister, has successfully honed “cancel culture” in war.
On Wednesday, Fedorov took to Twitter to make a March 12 letter, addressed to DJI’s Wang, public. He said Russian forces had killed 100 Ukrainian children in 21 days of the war, and that they were using DJI products to navigate their missiles. “Are you sure you want to be a partner in these murders?” Fedorov asked Wang, before urging the entrepreneur to “block your products that are helping Russia to kill the Ukrainians!”
Here’s the complete text from Fedorov’s letter to DJI:
Dear Mr. Wang,
Ukraine is now on the frontline of the defense of the principles of humanity and freedom in face of the war waged by Russian Federation. Now we go through tough and unprecedented conditions when hostile armed forces of the neighbor country invaded Ukraine, and for 19 days in a row severely attack and destroy infrastructural objects, civil buildings and kill our people. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, 79 children have been killed and almost 100 wounded by Russian troops. Only in Mariupol city more than 2100 civilians were killed. There is no stop of bombing maternity hospitals, schools, universities, high-rise buildings, markets.
The socially responsible business always supports values of humanity, responsibility, and peace. We believe your company also shares them. Now, responsibility is the choice, the choice that defines the future. And now, more than ever, people’s lives depend on your choice.
We call on your company to end any relationships and stop doing business in the Russian Federation until the Russian aggression in Ukraine is fully stopped and fair order is restored.
The Russian army uses an extended version of DJI AeroScope which were taken from Syria. The distance is up to 50 km.
And they are using DJI products in Ukraine in order to navigate their missile to kill civilians. There are many evidences of that non humanity actions from the Russian side. We can provide it. The whole world is shocked. Our efforts are directed to those subjects who are really capable to accept and share pain of Ukrainian people and give us a helping hand.
We kindly ask you to provide us with information regarding:
1. The number of functioning DJI products in Ukraine, their ID, where and when they were purchased and activated;
2. The map (on regions of Ukraine) of functioning DJI products in Ukraine;
3. Is there a problem with activating a new DJI product in Ukraine?
The situation is really critical. There were cases when all DJI products were switched off (for instance, war in Georgia).
So, we ask you as well:
– switch on for Ukrainian users DJI Aeroscope function;
– block all DJI products functioning in Ukraine which were purchased and activated not in Ukraine;
– block all DJI products which were purchased and activated in the Russian Federation, Syria and Lebanon.
The entire humanity world admires the heroism of Ukrainians and strongly condemns unprovoked bloody Russian aggression against Ukraine. Numerous companies in various industries throughout the globe have already joined the protest in order to support Ukraine. In the financial area, MasterCard and Visa blocked credit card services to the number of banks of the aggressor country. Google, Apple payment services barred cards of Russian banks for invading Ukraine. Oracle, Samsung, Dell, Siemens, and many others have suspended all operations in the Russian Federation.
We urge your support, as far as the protection of the principles of freedom and peace is now possible only with the joint efforts. The Ukrainian government genuinely shares the values of humanity and believes they will continue to serve IT businesses as the basis for further growth both globally and in the Countries, which stand on the same foundations.
But as we said above, it is no longer a question of business, it is a question of peace and life.
Vice Prime Minister –
Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine
DJI responds to Ukraine’s request to block products helping Russia
DJI was also quick to respond to the letter once Fedorov made it public. The company said in a statement:
Dear Vice Prime Minister Fedorov:
All DJI products are designed for civilian use and do not meet military specifications. The visibility given by AeroScope and future Remote ID requirements is one more reason why using them for military missions is inappropriate.
The DJI AeroScope system is built into all recent DJI drones and broadcasts information about a drone in flight to AeroScope receivers. This functionality cannot be turned off.
DJI has not changed the functionality of our AeroScope system in any way in Ukraine, and many Ukrainian AeroScope units are still functioning. DJI’s sales and service in Ukraine has been consistent and unchanged.
Please understand that DJI cannot obtain user information and flight data, unless the user actively submits it to us. We do not have the ability to identify and verify a user’s location, and therefore we do not hold the data you have requested.
If the Ukrainian government formally requests that DJI set up geofencing throughout Ukraine, we will arrange it according to our policy. It would apply to all DJI drones in Ukraine, no matter who is flying them, but it may not stop all flights. Please be aware that geofencing is not foolproof, and if the user does not connect to the internet to update the geofence data, the new geofence will not take effect for the drone.
We remain available to discuss these issues at your convenience.