A Ukrainian businessman claims that a group of Russian military personnel in the city of Melitopol, Ukraine, stole all the equipment from an agricultural machinery dealership in order to send it to Chechnya. However, the Russian soldiers were unable to advance more than 700 miles, as the stolen equipment was blocked using a remote access feature.
Over the past few weeks, multiple agricultural equipment, construction materials and grains collected by farms in Ukraine have been reported stolen. In this case, the equipment of the manufacturer John Deere would have been stolen and transported by Russian troops in the Ukrainian city, occupied since the end of March.
According to the informant in an interview with CNN, Russian soldiers forcibly seized tractors, trucks and crops worth up to $5 million USD. An informant claimed that military trucks with the letter “Z” painted on the front entered the looted facilities for days.
Some of the stolen machinery was sent to a village on the outskirts of Melitopol, while another part of the loot was shipped overland to Chechnya, on a journey of more than 700 miles. However, the Russian soldiers were unaware that the stolen units were equipped with a GPS locator, which allowed the owners to follow in detail the route traced by the Russians.
The stolen equipment could also be controlled remotely, so during the journey to Chechnya the harvesters, tractors and trucks simply stopped working and it was impossible to move forward. Apparently, Russian soldiers decided to leave these machines on a farm near Grozny, at least until they find a way to evade this remote control mechanism.
Although the manufacturer and owners of the stolen machinery appear to have thwarted this heist at least momentarily, the looting of farms by Russian troops in Ukraine is already a widespread practice. Last week, the mayor of Melitopol posted a video showing a convoy of trucks leaving the city and allegedly loaded with thousands of tons of grain produced by Ukrainian farmers: “The stolen grain is sent to Crimea,” the mayor says.
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