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“War is war,” but Ukrainian sushi bar serves lunch on time

#War #war #Ukrainian #sushi #bar #serves #lunch #time

Igor Besukh, who works at a sushi restaurant in eastern Ukraine, turns up the music to cover the din of air raid sirens while he prepares the next order.

But the music couldn’t drown out the deafening roar of a rocket that hit central Kramatorsk on Friday, landing on the city’s Peace Square near City Hall, the cultural center and the sushi bar where Besukh works.

The restaurant is one of the few still open in the city, just about 20 kilometers from the front line of Russian troops, in the industrial Donbass region that Russia is trying to conquer.

Upon hearing the explosion, staff at Woka, a restaurant with red-painted walls and an Asian design, quickly ducked into a shelter.

They reappeared 20 minutes later to inspect the damage. All the windows and doors were broken, although they were boarded up with sheets of plywood.

They cleared the debris and prepared the orders awaiting delivery.

There were no casualties after the strike at around 8:00 p.m., but the impact shattered the windows of several nearby buildings.

“It was a loud noise. Of course we didn’t expect that. I was scared,” says the 23-year-old chef with the tattooed arms.

Coming back to work the next day wasn’t easy, he admits, but “War is war, but lunch has to be served on time,” he quotes a well-known saying with a smile.

– Open during the war –

Besukh has been working at the restaurant for several years. Today its main customers are soldiers stationed in Kramatorsk or returning from the front.

The city of around 150,000 people before the war now lives under the constant threat of shelling.

A strike at a hotel on July 7 left one dead. A previous strike in April at a busy train station killed over 50 people.

AFP questioned restaurant staff just before the attack on Friday and then returned on Saturday when everything was cleared.

The wooden screens were back in place and orders were piling up on the counter in front of a glass pane behind which Besukh was working.

In the restaurant, which has been open every day since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, he arranges, rolls and cuts up to a hundred pieces of sushi every day.

Opened in 2016, the sushi bar now employs seven people, down from 28 before the war.

“It’s normal to work in this situation, too,” says Besukh, whose culinary career has taken him to the capital, Kyiv, to the shores of the Sea of ​​Azov, and now back to his hometown of Kramatorsk.

When asked if he’s considering joining the army, he says with a smile, “Why should I? I have no experience, I would be of no use.”

“Here I help in a way,” adds the young man, who dreams of one day opening his own restaurant.

Currently, the restaurant serves 10 to 30 dishes a day, all for takeaway or delivery.

Customers are not allowed to eat inside for safety reasons.

“Imagine if a rocket hits the restaurant, it would be too much of a responsibility for us,” the restaurant’s owner, Dmitry Pleskanov, said just hours before the rocket landed on Peace Square.

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#War #war #Ukrainian #sushi #bar #serves #lunch #time

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