Chinese drone maker DJI has denied claims that the Russian military is using its drones in the ongoing Ukraine war after a German retailer cited such information as the reason for removing its products from its shelves.
The rejection followed Friday’s Twitter revelation of the removal by German electronics and home appliances giant MediaMarkt in response to “information from various sources,” although it gave no details of the information is received.
On Twitter, the Chinese firm said, “DJI promotes civilian drone applications that benefit society,” adding that MediaMarkt’s accusation was “utterly false.”
In Saturday’s statement, it said, “We do not support any use that does harm to people’s lives, rights and interests.” On Monday, DJI did not respond to a request from Reuters for comment.
MediaMarkt, which runs more than 800 stores in 12 European nations and Turkey, did not say what information it had received about DJI.
“As a responsible company, we have taken immediate action and removed the manufacturer from our product range groupwide until further notice,” it said on its official Twitter account on Friday.
MediaMarkt was replying to a user who accused DJI of leaking GPS data of Ukrainian military positions to Russia.
“We will closely examine further indications and developments,” it added.
It called the move “a clear signal for the values that have the highest priority for us,” which it saw come under attack by Russia’s “aggressive” war against Ukraine.
While Western firms have pulled out of Russia in protest, DJI has stayed on, like many Chinese companies, taking a cue from Beijing’s stance of refraining from criticism of Moscow over the invasion.
On March 16, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, said he asked DJI founder Frank Wang in a letter to cut ties with Russia, accusing its troops of using DJI products for the navigation of missiles that kill Ukrainian civilians.
Chinese state-owned Norinco is among the biggest suppliers of arms and military equipment to the Myanmar military, according to an advocacy group Justice For Myanmar and public domain information. China North Industries Group (NORINCO) may have supplied armored vehicles to Russia as Russia lost more than 2,000 armored vehicles in Ukraine.
VT4 main battle tanks, VN22 armored vehciles, PLZ-52 155mm self-propelled howitzers, HJ-10 anti-tank missiles and Tianlong-50 air defense missiles were among the key exhibits from the China North Industries Group Corp Ltd (Norinco), when the state-owned defense conglomerate made its debut at the annual arms show.
According to NORINCO, the VN22 can defend and survive an explosion of 10 kilograms TNT, and all its six wheels can make pivot meaning the radius of its turning circle is even smaller than the vehicle with four wheels, and this makes it extremely maneuverable.
Russian news agency Rossiya Segodnya also reported that China Electronics Corp and Shandong-based IRay Technology Corp, a company specializing in infrared thermal imaging, were among the platform transferred to Russia.
The agency said it was the Russians who invited their Chinese counterparts to produce equipment for Russia as it is grappling with under-capacity, and was looking for ways to work around US sanctions and procure products from China, either through technology transfer or by setting up joint ventures.
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