(StraightNews.org) – As Russian aggression continues in Ukraine, the fallout for the country, its businesses and oligarchs, is becoming significant. However, it’s also had effects on other countries. One such example is a major Chinese company that has just been hit with the consequences of US sanctions on Russia.
Da-Jiang Innovations, or DJI as it’s better known, produces drones used worldwide for both personal and commercial use. Many law enforcement agencies and military powers use them to conduct reconnaissance. Up until now, the drone maker has used Figma’s design software, but the company has since denied DJI access after discovering it was on the US sanctions list.
Figma Adheres to Sanctions
On March 12, Figma, a provider of software used in drones, notified DJI that in order to comply with sanctions, it would be freezing DJI’s access to its software. However, the company did say if sanctions were lifted, it would continue to work with the drone maker. To help address the software issue, several other Chinese companies that claim to rival Figma’s capabilities have offered their services to DJI.
DJI Drones in the Warzone
Another concern that’s surfaced is how DJI drones are programmed for use in the Ukraine warzone. Sources say China significantly reduced Ukraine’s drone capabilities, but not those of Russian forces. In particular, components made by DJI’s AeroScope technology can monitor drone signals to make it easy for users to track the movements of its drones within a 6 to 31-mile radius.
Volodymyr Shymanskyy, Blynk IoT Platform’s co-founder, said the Chinese allegedly restricted this monitoring capability in drones used by Ukraine, making it more difficult to track the ones being used by the Russians. However, he said DJI didn’t restrict the feature for Russia’s drones, which essentially makes the Ukrainian operators sitting ducks. “This, in turn, means that the largest Chinese drone manufacturing company secretly and blatantly supports the actions of the Russian army in Ukraine,” Shymanskyy said. DJI denied these allegations and there has been no indication the drone maker has shared Ukraine’s data with Russian troops.
I'm the head US spokesman for DJI, and let me say very clearly — these reports are FALSE. We are aware of problems with some AeroScope units in Ukraine; they may be connected to prolonged loss of power/internet. But there is NO deliberate action to downgrade AeroScope there.
— Adam Lisberg (@adamlisberg) March 10, 2022
Russia Seeks China’s Help?
There’s some speculation that Russia sought China’s help in the war, asking for military aid, which included drones. The spokesperson for Washington’s Chinese Embassy, Liu Pengyu, denies the request ever happened.
DJI was placed on the United States’ foreign entity list at the end of 2020 when the US cited concerns over human rights violations and DJI’s role in aiding a repressive regime.
Time will tell how Figma’s discontinuation of its services to DJI will affect drone capabilities used in the warzone and whether the two companies will choose to work together again if and when sanctions end.
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