WARSAW, Poland — Amid increasing concern over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Czech drone manufacturer Primoco UAV has announced the company will halt its activities in the Russian market and sell its local subsidiary AO Primoco BPLA.
In a statement, the company cited various difficulties related to Western sanctions against Russia as the reason why it decided to shut down its operations there as of Jan. 31.
“The only reason for this decision is the sanctions regime against the Russian Federation and the impossibility of obtaining the export license [the company] needed to operate its drones” in Russia, Primoco UAV said.
Ladislav Semetkovský, the chief executive of Primoco UAV, said that only this year the Russian offshoot lost contracts worth 1 billion rubles ($12.6 million) due to unfavorable political conditions.
“Diplomatic relations between the Czech Republic and the European Union on [the] one hand and Russia on the other … are at a low point. As a result, we cannot meet our commitments and develop our business in the Russian market,” he said.
The Czech Republic, where Primoco UAV is headquartered, is a NATO ally and a member state of the European Union. In response to Russia’s recent recognition of two Russia-backed breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, the Luhansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Czech government has called on the EU to impose new sanctions on Moscow.
“We are providing assistance to Ukraine. We have given them aid in the form of ammunition, but also humanitarian aid, and we will continue to do so. But the most important thing now is the joint action of the European Union and NATO,” Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala tweeted on Feb. 22.
In the Russian market, Primoco UAV provided its drone services to solely to the civilian sector, according to the statement. The company did not disclose the name of the Russian buyer of its subsidiary.
The Czech manufacturer specializes in making medium-sized UAVs. Its flagship Primoco UAV One 150 drone is enabled with a maximum take-off weight of 150 kg (330 lb), an endurance of 15 hours, and a maximum speed of 150 km/h (93 mph), according to data from the business.
Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.