Ukrainian Official Pleads With Chinese Drone Maker To Stop Use By Russian Military
By Andrew Thornebrooke of The Epoch Times
A Ukrainian statesman called upon a Chinese drone manufacturer to halt the use of its products by the Russian military, which he said were being used to target Ukrainian civilians with missiles.
“In 21 days of the war, Russian troops [have] already killed 100 Ukrainian children,” Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Federov wrote in a March 16 tweet.
“They are using DJI products in order to navigate their missile[s].”
Headquartered in Shenzhen, DJI is one of the world’s largest drone manufacturers. Though its products are ostensibly designed for civilian use, they are used by militaries the world over. Federov attached an open letter to DJI CEO Frank Wang, pleading that he halt business ties in Russia and place limits on the use of DJI drones in Ukraine.
“The socially responsible business always supports values of humanity, responsibility, and peace,” Federov wrote. “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 relationship and stop doing business in the Russian Federation until the Russian aggression in Ukraine is fully stopped and fair order is restored.”
Federov said that Russian forces were using a version of DJI’s AeroScope technology to assist in its missile targeting.
DJI advertises AeroScope as a comprehensive drone detection platform that identifies and tracks drones in real time, and says that all of its current drone lineup uses the technology.
Federov also asked Wang to shut off all DJI drones that had not been activated within Ukraine, saying that Russia was utilizing drones purchased in Syria or Lebanon. He said that a similar action had been taken in the war in Georgia.
The letter followed reports that stated that Russian AeroScope platforms were continuing in normal working order, but that service for Ukrainian models had been downgraded.
DJI issued a statement on Twitter saying that the technology could not be turned off and denied the report that it had altered the functionality of Ukrainian-based systems.
The company did state in its response that it could implement geofencing, effectively grounding any drones in the area that were connected to the internet, if the Ukrainian government formally requested it. But this would only apply to DJI drones in Urkainee.
Chinese businesses are under increasing scrutiny as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drags on.
Meanwhile, the Chinese regime has continued to refuse to denounce Moscow’s actions or join Western sanctions, a stance widely seen as showing tacit support to Russia.
The invasion came less than three weeks after Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladamir Putin met in Beijing and announced a “no limits” partnership. Chinese officials appeared to double down on that bet earlier this month, saying that Russia was China’s “most important strategic partner.”
Like Russia, Chinese communist leadership has blamed the United States and NATO for enticing Russia to attack Ukraine by ignoring Moscow’s demands that NATO not expand to Ukraine.
Ukraine was not being considered for NATO membership at the time it was invaded. NATO bylaws prohibit the acceptance of any nation into the alliance that does not retain full control of its own territory, such as has been the case in Ukraine since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.