Chinese drone maker DJI suspends business in Russia and Ukraine

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Chinese drone manufacturer DJI Technology Co Ltd says it is temporarily suspending business in Russia and Ukraine, making it the first major Chinese company to pause sales in Russia since the country invaded neighbouring Ukraine in February.

The world's largest drone manufacturer said on Wednesday it would suspend business in both Ukraine and Russia while “internally reassessing compliance requirements in various jurisdictions”.

Although many Western firms have pulled out of Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, many Chinese companies have continued to do business in the country, mirroring Beijing's pro-Russia stance.

Adam Lisberg, DJI’s director of corporate communications for North America, told Al Jazeera the company had taken the action “not to make a statement about any country, but to make a statement about our principles”.

“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,” Lisberg said.

Ukraine has accused DJI of leaking data on the Ukrainian military to Russia, a claim the company denies. 

Last week, DJI reiterated in a statement that its products were intended for purely civilian use, saying its 'partners' agree not to sell its products to “customers who clearly plan to use them for military purposes, or help modify our products for military use”.

“We will never accept any use of our products to cause harm, and we will continue striving to improve the world with our work,” the company said.

Online, footage has been shared that confirmed the Russian military was using its products, although a DJI spokesperson said last month it had not been able to confirm this and had no control over the use of its products.

"We are engaging with customers, partners and other stakeholders regarding the temporary suspension of business operations in the affected territories," DJI's statement concluded.

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