Eat borscht, save Ukraine: MasterChef winner, a refugee, cooks for charity

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PRAGUE, March 26 (Reuters) – Ukrainian MasterChef winner Olga Martynovska, who fled to Prague with her 6-year-old daughter to escape the Russian invasion, cooked borscht and other traditional dishes on Saturday for raise funds for those who have been stuck at home.

At a stall displaying the Ukrainian flag at a popular farmer’s market along the Vltava River, Martynovska and other refugees prepared delicacies including poppyseed cakes, pierogies and homemade sweets.

“I do my job but it’s not because I want to do it in front of the river here in Prague,” Martynovska said, next to a sign reading “Eat Borscht, Save Ukraine.”

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“We collect the money in different ways to buy the necessary medicines for the Ukrainians who remain in the hotspots and really need them.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, around 300,000 refugees have fled to the Czech Republic, joining a pre-war Ukrainian community of almost 200,000. Nearly 3.8 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the war, most of them heading for Poland, according to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.

Martynovska, who also served as a MasterChef judge after her victory, said she was lucky to find safety with friends in Prague and wanted to help those left behind in Ukraine.

On a sunny morning, customers queuing said they were happy to treat themselves to a bowl of borscht in support of refugees and others affected by war.

“I want to support Ukraine because I have a lot of Ukrainian friends,” said Xenie Harash.

“Also, I love borscht and I gladly support the Ukrainian army because I think it protects our world and Europe.”

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Reporting by Jiri Skacel Writing by Michael Kahn Editing by Ros Russell

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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