‘War is war’ but Ukraine sushi bar serves lunch on time

KRAMATORSK: Working in a sushi restaurant in the east Ukraine, Igor Besukh turned on music to drown out the sirens of the air raid as he prepared his next order.
But the music couldn’t mask the shrill sound of a missile hitting the center of gravity Kramatorsk on Friday, landed at the city’s Peace Square near the town hall, cultural center and sushi bar, where Besukh do.
The restaurant is one of the few still open in the city, just 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the front line with the Russian army, in the industrial area of ​​Donbas. Russia trying to conquer.
When they heard the explosion, the staff of “Woka”, a restaurant with red painted walls and Asian design, quickly moved to a shelter.
They reappear 20 minutes later to check for damage. All the windows and doors were broken despite being closed with plywood panels.
They clean up the debris and continue to prepare orders that are waiting to be delivered.
There were no casualties after the attack, which occurred around 8 p.m., but the impact shattered the windows of several nearby buildings.
“It was a big noise. Of course we didn’t expect it. I was scared,” said the 23-year-old chef with a tattooed arm.
He admits, however, that “war is war, but lunch must be served on time,” he said, quoting a popular saying with a smile.
Besukh has been working at the restaurant for several years. Now its main customers are soldiers stationed in Kramatorsk or those returning from the front.
The city, with a pre-war population of about 150,000, now lives under the constant threat of shelling.
A strike at a hotel on July 7 left one person dead. An earlier strike in April on a crowded train station killed more than 50 people.
AFP interviewed the restaurant’s employees shortly before Friday’s attack and then returned on Saturday when things were cleared up.
The wooden guards had been reassembled and orders were piling up on the counter in front of the rear glass where Besukh was working.
He arranges, rolls and cuts up to hundreds of pieces of sushi a day in the restaurant that has been open every day since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Open since 2016, the sushi bar today employs seven people, down from 28 before the war.
Besukh, whose culinary career brought him to the capital, said: “Working is normal, even in this situation. Kyivto the shores of Sea of ​​Azov and now back to his hometown Kramatorsk.
When asked if he would consider joining the army, he said with a smile: “Why should I? I have no experience, I won’t be of any use.”
“Here, I will help in some way,” said the young man, who dreams of opening his own restaurant one day.
Currently, the restaurant serves between 10 and 30 dishes daily, all for takeout or delivery.
Customers are not allowed to eat inside for safety reasons.
“Imagine if a missile hits a restaurant, that’s too much of a responsibility for us,” the restaurant owner, Dmitry Pleskanovsaid, just hours before the rocket landed on Peace Square.

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