The kitchens of the NGO of the Spanish chef José Andrés in Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine, were attacked on Saturday night. A Russian missile hit the area causing four injuries, members of the World Central Kitchen (WCK) team, focused on feeding the population at risk and with a detachment in Ukraine almost from the beginning of the Russian offensive. The chef has confirmed that the injured “are fine.” “Everyone is ready and wants to start cooking somewhere else,” José Andrés posted on his Twitter account this Sunday.
“This is the reality here: cooking is an act of heroic bravery,” said WCK member Nate Mook. “Yesterday I was here handing out food…”, Mook said in a video that he posted on Twitter and in which you can see the entire destroyed area. “There is still fire in a building. It’s been a big blow,” continues Mook, surrounded by burned-out cars and vehicle wreckage hanging from trees. “It’s a civilian area, where people live and work,” explained the WCK spokesman. The members of the NGO on the ground are rescuing this Sunday all the equipment that was not damaged in the attack to move it to another area in the city and resume the work of distributing food to citizens as soon as possible.
The work doesn’t stop! Today, the restaurant team is moving all food products & non-damaged equipment to another kitchen location in Kharkiv. The injured staff are doing well—and all the team here wants to continue cooking. Truly in awe at the bravery of our @WCKitchen partners! pic.twitter.com/O5zayN0WOJ
— Nate Mook (@natemook) April 17, 2022
After learning of the attack, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has contacted José Andrés to wish the injured a speedy recovery and show his support for the work of WCK, which in 2021 was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award to Concord. “Thank you for the immense and supportive work you do to help alleviate the effects of this cruel war,” Sánchez posted on Twitter, “Spain will continue to be completely committed to Ukraine,” he added.
I have contacted @chefjoseandres to wish a speedy recovery to the members of @WCKitchen wounded in Kharkov. Thank you for the immense and supportive work you do to help alleviate the effects of this cruel war. Spain will continue to be completely devoted to Ukraine.
– Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) April 17, 2022
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The Second Vice President and Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz, has also sent a message of support to the NGO: “All strength to chef José Andrés and the WCKitchen team in the face of the attack suffered in Kharkov. All the support to the people who have been injured, we hope they recover very soon.”
The WCT solidarity kitchen has been active in different parts of the Ukraine since practically the beginning of the Russian invasion. Chef José Andrés began work on the ground by installing stoves in several Polish cities where the first refugees arrived. Shortly after, the NGO workers entered Ukraine.
Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city, has been under continuous airstrikes since the beginning of the Russian invasion of the country, which began on February 24. In this month and a half the town has been left empty and deprived of supplies. The few remaining inhabitants are resisting the Russian bombardments in cellars and with a notable food shortage. This Sunday, the attacks against the city continue. At least five people have died in the last few hours and another 13 have been injured.