Ukraine is enlisting a Chinese civilian drone maker to block what the Ukrainian government says is their use by the Russian military to target missile attacks.
Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Federov’s appeal to DJI Technology Co., made public on Twitter, highlights tensions over Ukraine for Chinese companies. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said this month that Moscow was Beijing’s “most important strategic partner” at a time when Western tech and other companies pulled out of Russia following its Feb. 24 invasion. .
Russian forces “use DJI products to navigate their missile,” Federov wrote in a letter to DJI. He called on DJI to disable drones in Ukraine that were purchased and activated in Russia, Syria or Lebanon: “Block your products that help Russia kill Ukrainians!
DJI, in a letter on its own Twitter account, responded that it could not disable individual drones but could impose geofencing or software restrictions that are typically used to keep drones away from airports or other sensitive areas. The company said this will affect all DJI drones in Ukraine.
DJI, headquartered in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, is one of the largest manufacturers of civilian drones used by photographers, businesses and hobbyists. It is a leader in technology that uses satellite navigation to guide drones to precise locations.