According to a report from the State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine, the world’s largest drone maker, DJI helps the Russians in their attacks.
The WSJ had a very interesting article about how the Ukraine government called out DJI as “a security risk for Ukraine’s military and civilians.”
DJI blamed for sabotaging Ukrainian defenses
Government officials have said that DJI may have intentionally sabotaged DJI products, including DJI drones and Aeroscope systems, to weaken the Ukrainian defense.
The officials have also pointed out that the Russian military seems to have no Aeroscope problems and is able to successfully target Ukrainian drone pilots and their DJI drones.
The State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine said in a report this month that DJI “helps the Russians in their attacks.”
DJI denies any involvement
DJI has consistently and categorically rejected any involvement in the military conflict and has said that the “allegations against DJI are utterly false.”
An official statement from the drone maker reads: “DJI has not changed the functionality of our Aeroscope system in any way in Ukraine, and many Ukrainian Aeroscope units are still functioning.”
DJI spokesperson Adam Lisberg told the WSJ that the drone maker was aware that a few Aeroscope systems in use by the Ukrainian military were malfunctioning before the war started.
DJI has claimed that it was attempting to repair the Aeroscope systems in Ukraine and that it never tampered with them.
“DJI continues to provide full global technical support and services, including our AeroScope Remote ID solution,” DJI Support said on March 13. “We are working with customers to resolve some AeroScope malfunctions in Ukraine that we suspect are related to interim loss of power and/or internet services.”
Last week, DJI even updated their official statement saying that “we absolutely deplore any use of our products to cause harm. DJI has only ever made products for civilian use; they are not designed for military applications. Specifically:
- DJI does not market or sell our products for military use.
- DJI does not provide after-sales services for products that have been identified as being used for military purposes.
- DJI has unequivocally opposed attempts to attach weapons to our products.
- DJI has refused to customize or enable modifications that would enable our products for military use.”
Ukrainian DJI dealer AND DJI sever ties
For years, Taras Troiak, a Ukrainian DJI dealer with stores in Kyiv and Lviv, successfully made a living selling DJI drones.
Since the start of the war, he has become active on social media in an effort to source and distribute drones for the Ukrainian military.
Troiak had been vocal about the issues with Aeroscope and advised drone pilots on how to safely fly DJI drones in the war-torn country.
However, the relationship between Troiak and DJI has apparently gone sour as the WSJ reported that they have severed ties.
“All future purchases will not be Chinese drones,” Troiak has been quoted as saying.
Troiak has tested a Skydio drone and plans to replace some of his DJI inventory with aircraft from the Redwood-based drone maker.
DJI declined to comment on the dispute with Troiak. However, the most recent updated statement from DJI might hold some clues as it says that:
“Our distributors, resellers, and other business partners have committed to following it when they sell and use our products. They agree not to sell DJI products to customers who clearly plan to use them for military purposes, or help modify our products for military use, and they understand we will terminate our business relationship with them if they cannot adhere to this commitment.”
Ukrainian government says DJI not secure
Meanwhile, Ukrainian drone pilots have been told not to connect DJI drones to mobile or Wi-Fi networks, as DJI drones aren’t completely secure, according to a Ukrainian government report.
All DJI drones purchased and activated in other Countries should be immediately disabled, it added.
These developments have opened the door for US-based drone startups to show what their drone can do in Ukraine, as we will report in the next article.
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