The theft took place in the city of Melitopol in southeastern Ukraine, about 700 kilometers from kyiv. Russian soldiers stole grain, tractors and harvesting machines to send to Chechnya. According to CNN , the equipment, worth approximately $5 million, was stolen from an Argotek distributor and later moved by Russian transport vehicles more than 800 kilometers away. Upon reaching their destination, the soldiers discovered that the tractors did not start, although it was not a mechanical failure, but a remote deactivation carried out by the manufacturer John Deere .
While the tractor-making company has been criticized in the past for its strategies to prevent tractor buyers from getting their tractors repaired and to encourage use of the Connected Support program, it was that very technology that allowed them to disable the units. The remote locking function is possible thanks to a GPS receiver that allows you to know your location at all times and software that allows you to correct mechanical failures remotely, as if it were a computer.
According to CNN , an anonymous source commented that the Russian soldiers are looking for a way to reactivate the equipment so that they can be used. Even if they failed to do so, the machinery would have a value if its parts were sold as spare parts.
The theft of grain and cereals by Russian troops has been reported in various media. According to the International Grains Council , Ukraine is the fourth largest exporter in the world with an annual sale of more than 44 million tons in past years. This figure has been severely affected by the war and the ports that are Ukrainians that Ukrainians that have stopped operating because of the conflict.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, told Reuters : “Through its illegal actions, Russia is robbing not only Ukraine but also consumers abroad. The United Nations estimates that around 1.7 billion people may face poverty and hunger due to food disruptions as a result of a large-scale war waged by Russia against Ukraine.