Leading Chinese drone maker DJI cuts off Russia, Ukraine
DJI Technology Co., the Chinese manufacturer who claims a massive share of the global market for commercial drones, said Wednesday it is suspending sales to Russia and Ukraine as the Kremlin’s invasion of its neighbor enters its third month.
A DJI spokesman told the Reuters news agency the decision to suspend sales to both countries was not meant as a political statement.
“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 spokesman said.
Drones have already played a prominent role in the fighting, being credited with helping Ukrainian forces locate and destroy Russian armored attacking columns.
The Ukrainian Border Guard Service announced in December it was buying 300 DJI Matrice drones to help monitor and guard the borders.
Chinese companies have faced a dilemma as Russia and the West have launched a slew of sanctions on each other since the war began.
China’s Communist government is officially neutral and has pushed for a diplomatic end to the fighting, but the state-controlled press has consistently echoed Moscow talking points and put the blame for the war heavily on the U.S. and NATO.
Many Chinese manufacturers and financial firms have continued to do business in Russia even as Western firms pull out and announce boycotts.
But China’s two-way trade with Russia is dwarfed by the volume of trade it does with both the U.S. and the European Union.