When preparing his sushi, Igor Besukh turns the music up to full volume so as not to be disturbed by the rumble of foreheads and the sound of sirens. But on Friday night that was not enough. A rocket exploded around 8:00 p.m. in the middle of the huge Peace Square, the main square of Kramatorsk where the town hall, the cultural center… and the restaurant where he works, one of the few that are still open in this city in eastern Ukraine within range of Russian bombing.

The employees of the “Woka”, a place with red lacquered walls and Asian motifs, plunged into the interior of the restaurant. Going upstairs about twenty minutes later, they saw the damage: all the windows and doors broken despite their plywood paneling. They swept and finished preparing the orders.

The attack caused no casualties, as the huge square was deserted, but the explosion blew out the windows of several buildings. “It was a huge noise. We didn’t expect it, of course. I got scared,” confesses the young cook with his arms covered in tattoos. Going back to work the next day wasn’t exactly easy, but, he smiles, “perhaps you know the proverb: war is war, but dinner must be served on time.”

Igor, 23, has been working for several years at this restaurant, which delights soldiers returning from the front or stationed in Kramatorsk, the administrative center of the Donetsk region, which the Russians want to seize.

This city of about 150,000 inhabitants before the war, about twenty kilometers from the front, remains under constant threat of bombing. A July 7 attack on a hotel killed one person late last week. And Kramatorsk suffered tragedy in April when the train station, where civilians were crowding to flee, was hit by a missile, killing at least 52 people.

Since Saturday everything has been cleaned, the wooden protections have been replaced and the orders are piled up on the counter in front of the glass behind which Igor arranges, batters and cuts his sushi. Sometimes up to a hundred a day.

The restaurant, opened in 2016, still employs 7 people (compared to 28 before the war) and has never closed since February 24, the date of the start of the Russian invasion.”It is normal to work, even in this context “, says Igor, who after a cooking diploma went to try his luck in Kyiv, then on the coast of the Sea of ​​Azov, before returning to Kramatorsk, his hometown.

Have you ever considered joining the military? Little smile. “What for? I have no experience, it wouldn’t help me. Here I help in a certain way,” estimates the young man, who dreams of one day opening his own business. For the moment, food is not lacking. The establishment serves between 10 and 30 daily dishes, to take home. But there are no customers there. “If a missile ever falls on the restaurant? It’s a big responsibility for us,” explained the chief, Dmitry Pleskanov, a few hours before the missile fell on Peace Square.

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