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Small commercial drones continue to flow from China into Russia, where they are weaponized and sent to the front lines to attack Ukrainian troops, the Wall Street Journal reported on Feb. 18.
According to officials and customs data, these include drones by Chinese consumer unmanned aerial vehicle giant DJI. Other drones are reportedly transported through the United Arab Emirates. Drones are often bought by third parties and shipped from China.
The report reveals more gaps in Western countries' attempts to prevent Russia from replenishing this technology and using it in its war effort against Ukraine.
Russia's use of Chinese drones in combat may also give China valuable data about the tactics of using these devices on the modern battlefield, according to the Wall Street Journal.
DJI said it opposed the use of civilian drones on the battlefield — the company had officially stopped doing business in Russia and Ukraine. But its devices continue to flow.
Both Ukraine and Russia have made extensive use of weaponized consumer drones, many of which are bought by volunteers or third parties.