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Fight over a 't': For Ukraine, it's culture; for Russia xenophobia

Ukraine's most recognisable celebrity chef spearheaded what would become an unlikely cultural victory over Russia

Photo by Yehor Milohrodskyi on Unsplash
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Photo by Yehor Milohrodskyi on Unsplash

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Don’t tell Ievgen Klopotenko that borsch is just food. For him, that bowl of beet-and-meat soup is the embodiment of everything Ukraine is fighting for.

“Food is a powerful social instrument by which you can unite or divide a nation,” said Klopotenko, Ukraine’s most recognisable celebrity chef spearheaded what would become an unlikely cultural victory over Russia.

“It's our symbol,” Klopotenko said. “Borsch is our leader.” If that seems hyperbolic, you underestimate how intrinsic borsch (the preferred Ukrainian spelling) is to this country’s soul. More than a meal, it represents history, family and centuries of tradition.

And now, at the one-year mark of

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First Published: Feb 26 2023 | 11:14 PM IST

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