St. Pete restaurant owner shows his pride for Ukraine with recent success against Russia
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida. – Roman Voloshyn’s long-held dream of opening a Ukrainian restaurant in St. Petersburg has come true. Her dream took on a new sense of urgency after the Russian invasion threatened the existence of her home country and her mother and father who still live in Ukraine.
Voloshyn said his restaurant was very distinct from the western part of Ukraine. He and his family are from Lviv, a city of over 700,000 people.
On the other side of Ukraine, the town of Izium was recaptured after Moscow withdrew from a Ukrainian counteroffensive. This comes after almost six months of Russian cooperation, which left Izium devastated.
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Russian forces left the city last week as soldiers from Kyiv pressed a stunning advance that reclaimed large swaths of territory in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine.
“My father is a bit excited that the Ukrainian army was able to advance and liberate the territories,” Voloshyn said.
Voloshyn said his family in Ukraine have been largely spared the devastation of Russian aggression, except for a missile attached a few miles from their home. He said his family had always predicted that their small army had a natural advantage, as they believed in his cause.
“Probably the bravest people in the world,” Voloshyn said. “When everyone was afraid of the Russians, we just went against them with our chances really low. Now the chances are very high.”
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Despite some recent battles, the war is not over, which worries Voloshyn about what else Putin might try.
“My brother-in-law is drafted, in the army, he actively participates, everyone expects him to return home soon safe and sound,” Voloshyn said.
His St. Pete’s restaurant is a world apart, but in many ways, that’s how he expresses Ukrainian pride as his country continues to fight.
“That’s what Ukraine offered,” Voloshyn said. “Not only brave people, but we have excellent cuisine.”
Voloshyn said they donate the money from each purchase to funds that support Ukrainian soldiers injured in combat.
The Associated Press contributed