Reports of Russian soldiers looting during their invasion and occupation of Ukraine have been quite varied in terms of the actual loot that’s been taken: artwork from a museum in Mariupol, appliances taken from Ukrainian homes and shipped to markets in Belarus and possibly even radioactive material from Chernobyl.
Apparently, agricultural equipment has joined that list. CNN’s Olexsandr Fylyppov and Tim Lister report that Russian troops in the city of Melitopol, which has been under attack for weeks, have stolen around $5 million worth of agricultural equipment from a John Deere dealership. Melitopol’s Museum of Local History was also, according to the New York Times, hit by looters, who stole a valuable collection of Scythian gold dated to more than 2,000 years ago.
According to CNN, 27 pieces of agricultural equipment were stolen, including combine harvesters and tractors. Russian military looters have, according to various reports, shipped stolen goods over land to friendly countries, notably Belarus. These particular agricultural items from Melitopol were shipped to Chechnya, but as with John Deere equipment worldwide, these were equipped with remote lock mechanisms that rendered them inoperable.
Eastern Europe is known to be home to hackers who can make some use of remote-locked equipment, although, as earlier reports pegged the best-known hackers as Ukrainian, it’s not clear that the looters will have too much luck in recruitment. At worst, from the point of view of the looters, they may be able to strip the machinery of parts to be sold separately.