Kyiv, Ukraine — In a small cafe on Kyiv’s left bank, a glass bowl perched on the counter bears the word “generator.” “It used to be the tip jar,” cafe owner Mykyta Karyi explained. “Somehow, I think this is a little more urgent.” The 27-year-old and his girlfriend are one of thousands of small-business owners struggling to keep the lights on as Russia continues to attack Ukraine’s energy supply. Karyi and his girlfriend watched the plumes of smoke from the doorstep of the cafe as Russia wiped out the energy to Kyiv’s residential left bank.
“It was a bit apocalyptic, but we’re from Kherson, so we’ve been through much worse,” he said. The couple has been in business for two months after passing through 62 checkpoints while fleeing occupied Kherson, where they owned two cafes. In their new premises in Kyiv, Karyi passes out cups of filtered coffee and tea he makes with a camping stove. “It slows things down. Ukrainians like espressos and cappuccinos, but this is all we can do now,” he said.