McDonald’s re-opens in war-torn Ukraine, only delivers for now

KYIV, Ukraine (AFP) — McDonald’s in Kyiv re-opened on Tuesday for the first time since Russia’s invasion, a sign that life was returning to normal in the capital after nearly seven months of war.

The US burger chain said in a statement earlier that “after talks with Ukrainian officials, security specialists and suppliers” it would re-open at first for delivery only.

A queue of delivery company employees formed outside one of restaurants waiting to collect orders on Tuesday.

“I think there will be a lot of excitement,” one of the delivery men told AFP while sitting on his motorbike.

“I’m not going to rest today,” added Maksym Khadap, 19, yellow thermal backpack on his shoulders.

A customer said that he came to pick up his order from a deliveryman right outside the restaurant.

“I made it to please my girlfriend, she is now at work, and I will bring it to her,” 24-year-old Oleksandr Khodarkovskyi told AFP with a smile on his face.

“She likes McDonald’s a lot, I’m giving her a surprise,” he said.

McDonald’s suspended operations in Ukraine on February 24 after Russia invaded.

“In October, these three restaurants will fully re-open along with McDrive and express windows,” the company said in its statement on Monday.

“As part of the phased reopening program, seven more stores in Kyiv will open, followed by additional restaurants in the capital and other cities in the west of the country,” it added.

With the chain shuttered in Russia, the highly anticipated relaunch was seen by many Ukrainians as a symbolic show of support.

McDonald’s earlier this year sold its Russian restaurants to businessman Alexander Govor after announcing a complete exit from the country.

It said continuing to work in Russia was “no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values”.

© Agence France-Presse