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A Ukrainian Man Tracked Russian Troops After They Stole His AirPods

A wartime PSA for anybody who’s considering swiping some AirPods.

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A pair of Apple AirPods in their plastic case.
Image: Stock photo (Getty Images)

A Ukrainian man who learned his Apple AirPods Pro had been pilfered by invading Russians soon realized he could turn the theft to his advantage. Using the “Find My” feature, he could see how far the Russian retreat was taking the invaders from his home.

The Times of London first reported that Vitaliy Semenets, who lives in the town of Hostomel approximately 17 miles northwest from the capital city of Kyiv, had his AirPods swiped during Russia’s initial push South to capture the capital region.


“Thanks to technology, I know where my AirPods [are] now,” he wrote. He called the sticky-fingered Russian soldiers “orcs.”

Semenets’ Instagram post from April 9 shows where his AirPods can currently be found.
Semenets’ Instagram post from April 9 shows where his AirPods can currently be found.
Screenshot: Vasiliy Semenets’ Instagram

The Russians beat a retreat in early April after encountering a surprising and significant bulwark of resistance from Ukrainian fighters. Realizing he could use AirPods’ Find My feature to track their location, Semenets posted to his Instagram that he’s been tracking their location North. The thieves traveled into Belarus and through the city of Gomel, according to the Times.

His latest Instagram post from April 14 shows his AirPods moved further into Russia in the city of Belgorad, which is on the eastern border with Ukraine and is southwest of the city of Voronezh which is shown on Semenets’ Instagram photo.

Russian troops have continued amassing in the east. The Washington Post quoted U.S. Pentagon and defense officials saying that they expect Russia to make a new push to capture the areas around the Donbas region.

The Russian occupation has left a deep and terrible mark in the region. Residents in the town of Hostomel have told Reuters that over 400 people are still reported missing after a 35-day occupation by Russian forces. Other towns near to Kyiv have also suffered immensely, such as the nearby town of Bucha, according to reporting from The New York Times.


Semenets wrote on Instagram that “Thanks to technology, I know where my AirPods are now. It was looted by Russian orcs from my home.”

Reports have been coming out of Ukraine of Russian troops looting homes and businesses in Ukraine, taking their spoils with them as they move from region to region. The motion of Semenets’ AirPods seems to suggest that troops are keeping some of their spoils on them as the war continues.


It’s also a reminder of just where this technology may go, with some privacy groups raising the alarm that similar tracking devices used to track technology can be used to track people as well.