According to CNN, John Deere agricultural equipment stolen in Melitopol, Ukraine, is blocked and unusable.
Russian occupiers in the occupied city of Melitopol stole all the equipment from an agricultural equipment dealership and sent it to Chechnya, according to a local Ukrainian businessman.
But after traveling more than 700 miles, the thieves were unable to use any of the equipment because it was blocked remotely.
As CNN reports: Over the past few weeks, there have been increasing reports of Russian troops stealing farm equipment, grain and even building materials, in addition to mass looting of homes. But the seizure of valuable farm equipment from a John Deere dealership in Melitopol speaks to an increasingly organized operation that even uses Russian military vehicles.
CNN has learned that the equipment was removed from the Agrotek dealership in Melitopol, which has been occupied by Russian troops since early March. In total, the amount stolen is estimated at nearly $5 million. The harvesters alone are worth $300,000 each.
And then there are the tractors, seeders, and sprayers.
According to a CNN source, the process began with the seizure of two combine harvesters, a tractor and a seeder. Over the next few weeks, everything else was taken: a total of 27 pieces of farm equipment. One of the used flatbed trucks taken by the camera had a white “Z” painted on it and turned out to be a military truck.
Some of the equipment was taken to a nearby village and some went on a long journey overland to Chechnya, more than 700 miles away.
But apparently the “orcs” do not understand the complexity of GPS-equipped vehicles, which means that their movements could be tracked. The last time it was tracked was to the village of Zakhan Yurt in Chechnya.
Equipment transferred to Chechnya, including combine harvesters, could also be controlled remotely. “When the occupiers brought the stolen harvesters to Chechnya, they realized that they could not even turn them on because the harvesters were blocked remotely,” the interlocutor said.
According to the latest information, the equipment now seems to be at a farm near Grozny. But the contact said that “it looks like the hijackers have found consultants in Russia who are trying to bypass the protection.”
This clears up the whole essence of the Russian military, the maximum they can do with the equipment is to sell it for parts or scrap metal, but the hardest thing for them is that there are very few units of such new equipment in Russia, and it would be difficult for them to find a buyer for the parts.
“Unfortunately, even if they sell the farm machinery for parts, they will earn some minimal money,” the interlocutor said.
It also became known about the theft of grain and agricultural products.
Other sources in the Melitopol region say that the theft by Russian military units has also spread to grain stored in elevators in the region, which produces hundreds of thousands of tons of crops a year.
One source told CNN that “the occupiers are offering local farmers a 50-50 split of their profits.” But farmers trying to work in areas occupied by Russian troops cannot export their produce.
“Not a single elevator is working. None of the ports work. You can’t take this grain from the occupied territory anywhere.”
So Russian forces are just taking the grain, the source said. “They steal it, take it to Crimea and that’s it.”
Last week, the mayor of Melitopol published a video showing a convoy of trucks leaving Melitopol allegedly carrying grain.
“We have clear evidence that they were unloading grain from the Melitopol city grain elevator. They robbed the grain elevator along with private farms,” the mayor told CNN.