- The US government put eight Chinese companies on an investment blacklist last year, including DJI, a company that makes drones, because they were thought to be spying on Uyghur Muslims.
- China hasn't said anything bad about Russia's military actions in Ukraine, but it has made it clear that it won't help Russia militarily.
Julian Ropcke, a Ukrainian journalist, posted a picture of Chinese-made DJI drones on Twitter. This was months after the drone maker told Ropcke that the drones were no longer being sold to Russia.
Ropcke sent out a tweet that said, “The Russian army relies heavily on @DJIGlobal drones to keep attacking Ukraine.” The Chinese drones cost 12,000 Euro each.”
The Matrice-30T model is the type of DJI drones that Russia is said to use. But EurAsian Times could not confirm the reports on its own.
The Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, sent an open letter to DJI’s founder and CEO, Frank Wang, on Twitter in March.
— Julian Röpcke🇺🇦 (@JulianRoepcke) October 31, 2022
In the letter, he said that the Russian military was “using DJI products to guide” missile attacks, and he asked the company to stop doing business in Russia until the tensions died down.
Fedorov also said that he was worried about DJI’s AeroScope technology for finding drones, which he said Russia was using to find Ukrainian drones from about 50 kilometres away.
DJI said in April 2022 that it would temporarily stop doing business in Russia and Ukraine “because of the fighting.” It was the first Chinese business to leave Russia since February 2022, when Russia started an invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement, it said, “Until the review is done, DJI will temporarily stop doing business in Russia and Ukraine.” We’re talking to customers, partners, and other interested parties about the temporary halt in business in the affected areas.
DJI also made it clear that it doesn’t want its products to be used in ways that put people’s lives, rights, or interests at risk. “When we find out that our products are being used by the military, we do not offer technical support,” the company said.
DJI Global said, “Our distributors, resellers, and other business partners have agreed to follow [our principles] when they sell and use our products. They agree not to sell DJI products to people who want to use them for military purposes or help modify our products for military use.”
But, contrary to what the statement says, these drones are still being used by the military.
Drones: Cornerstone Of Warfare In Russia & Ukraine
In the war between Russia and Ukraine, drones have become more important. In the first few months of the invasion, the TB2 Bayraktar drones used by Ukraine changed the game in their favour. Later, a fair number of American kamikaze drones were sent to Kyiv to help the counteroffensive.
Another turning point in the ongoing conflict was when Russia bought and used cheap, disposable Shahed-136 drones made in Iran. Most of these drones were used by Moscow to attack civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.
Both of the above drones can only be used by the military, but both sides have also used civilian drones for Intelligence and Surveillance. Some of these drones have even been modified to carry bombs to drop on enemy targets.
DJI drones have been used in the conflict, even after the company that made them took them off the market. Even though these drones have been taken off the market, there are rumours that they are still available on the “grey market.”
General Yuri Baluyevsky, who used to be Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, wrote in a book that the DJI Mavic drone had “revolutionised” warfare by making artillery more accurate. South China Morning Post reported this before. Baluyevsky went so far as to say that the Mavic was as accurate as a missile that was guided by a laser.
Not only Russia, but also Ukraine is said to have used civilian-grade DJI drones to gather information and plan missile strikes against the enemy. In June 2022, a Ukrainian Telegram account posted a video of a soldier using a DJI unmanned aerial vehicle to record missile attacks on Russian soldiers.
Officials in Ukraine have also said that Russia is using these drones even though the company that makes them has stopped selling them. Even though the Chinese company has said that their drones won’t be used for military operations, DJI devices are often changed so that they can be used in the war.
For example, Forbes says that US Customs and Border Protection changed AeroScope with the help of contractor Aerial Armor to increase the range and keep an eye on what DJI drones were doing on the US southern border.
Also, the US government put eight Chinese companies on an investment blacklist last year, including DJI, a company that makes drones, because they were thought to be spying on Uyghur Muslims.
China hasn’t said anything bad about Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, but it has made it clear that it won’t help Russia militarily.