Chinese drone maker DJI has dismissed as “completely false” allegations that it leaked information about Ukraine’s military location to Russia after a German retailer cited such information as a reason for removing its products from shelves.
The denial came after Twitter announced on Friday the removal by German electronics and home appliances giant Mediamarket in response to “information from various sources”, although it did not provide details of the information it had.
“In the last few days, we have received more information from various sources that the Russian military is using the products and data of Chinese drone supplier DJI for military operations in Ukraine,” Mediamarket said.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Chinese firm said: “What we have declared a ‘complete lie’ in our statement released yesterday is that DJI is actively supporting the Russian military with hardware and flight data.”
Although the agency noticed online footage suggesting that the Russian military was using its products, the spokesman added, it was unable to confirm this and had no control over the use of its products.
In its Twitter statement on Saturday, the DJI said, “We do not support any use that harms people’s lives, rights and interests,” adding that “the DJI promotes civilian drone applications that benefit society.”
MediaMarkt, which operates more than 800 stores in 12 European countries and Turkey, did not disclose information about DJI.
“As a responsible company, we have taken immediate action and removed the manufacturer from our product range group until further notice,” it said on its official Twitter account on Friday.
MediaMarkt was responding to a user who accused DJI of leaking GPS data on Ukrainian military positions near Russia.
“We will closely monitor further indications and developments,” it added.
It called the move “a clear signal to us of the highest priority values” for Russia, which has been hit by Russia’s “aggressive” war against Ukraine.
Users of Chinese drone giant products range from photography enthusiasts to the U.S. Fire Department.
The firm, which Moscow has dubbed a “special military operation” after Russia invaded Ukraine more than a month ago, has found itself in a state of disarray.
Although Western companies have moved away from Russia in protest, DJI has remained the same as many Chinese companies, with a signal from Beijing’s position to refrain from criticizing Moscow over the attack.
Ukrainian officials and citizens have accused DJI of leaking Ukrainian military information to Russia.
On March 16, Digital Transformation Minister Mikhail Fedorov said he had written a letter to the agency’s founder, Frank Wang, severing ties with Russia, accusing his troops of using DJI products to navigate missiles that kill Ukrainian civilians.
The next day, DJI responded on Twitter that its products, designed for civilian use, were unsuitable for military missions.
Thomson Reuters 2022