The world’s largest drone manufacturer, DJI, says it will temporarily suspend all business activities in Russia and Ukraine “in light of current hostilities.” This move makes DJI the first Chinese company to pull out of Russia since the country launched its invasion of Ukraine two months ago.
The tech giant dropped a quick statement Tuesday, explaining that it was “internally reassessing” compliance requirements in various jurisdictions. Here’s DJI:
Pending the current review, DJI will temporarily suspend all business activities in Russia and Ukraine. We are engaging with customers, partners, and other stakeholders regarding the temporary suspension of business operations in the affected territories.
Further clarification comes from company spokesperson Adam Lisberg, who says the decision to halt drone sales has been taken “not to make a statement about any country, but to make a statement about our principles.” As Lisberg puts it:
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.
The Ukraine-Russia war has put DJI drones under intense scrutiny. Reports from the battlefield show that both sides in the conflict are using DJI’s civilian drones to gain tactical advantages during military operations. DJI, meanwhile, insists that its drones don’t belong in the warzone.
In a statement issued in March, DJI said it does not support any use of its products that harms people’s lives, rights, or interests. “We do not provide technical support when military use of our products is identified,” the company said.
Then, last week, DJI again condemned the use of its drones in the Russia-Ukraine war, asserting that the company has only ever made products for civilian use; they are not designed for military applications.
Our distributors, resellers, and other business partners have committed to following [our principles] when they sell and use our products. They agree not to sell DJI products to customers who clearly plan to use them for military purposes, or help modify our products for military use, and they understand we will terminate our business relationship with them if they cannot adhere to this commitment.