Nico, the chef who helps Ukrainians find blankets and food

Nicholas is a Italian chef with Ukraine now in the DNA, which he celebrates with a tattoo representing the yellow-blue flag and which “passes through the vein that leads to the heart”. A great love for his adopted homeland wounded by Russian bombs, which he tries to help as best he can. For forty days, he criss-crossed the neighborhoods of Dnipro, a city in the east targeted by the bombardments of the Putin army. With his Jeep, Nicola, 46 years old and from Bergamo (including theHandle do not publish last name ed) Ukrainian wife and 9 year old daughterpossesses a list of people and things to carry with addresses, dates and products: all the necessary goods to be recovered from hastily abandoned apartments and delivered to shelters or collection centers. Nico “the Italian” felt involved in the war from the start, when from the first week he started cooking for the soldiers. Then his commitment changed and he is now a humanitarian volunteer. “The Russian army fired on us. They repeatedly hit our vehicles with Kalashnikovs, despite the fact that we had white flags.” And it shows photos of windshields shattered by bullets, as well as the panels on the door and sides of a Daily.

Cook at Dniepro

“Here I started a restaurant business and I never stopped – he said to himself -. When the bombs started to rain, I didn’t think twice. You can’t go, you have to help these people”, which reminds me of Italy thirty years ago: they are united people and despite the stereotypes they are very affectionate”.

But the war continues inexorably And these days he says he’s worried for the uncontrolled advance of the bombs. “More and more people are coming from Mariupol, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donestk, Kherson and Mykolaiv, but here the situation could escalate at any time. The mayor of Dnipro pleaded with people not to stop in this city anymore and try to continue further, as it could be dangerous, but many want to stay as close to home as possible.”

“We saved 27 thousand people”

In the city, where some of his compatriots still lived a few weeks ago, he is now the only Italian. “I had started to get goods from our countryactivating myself with associations, then as the trucks arrived in Lviv, the goods were unloaded – medicines, food, clothes – and people went up to go to Poland. Even now, we are organizing buses and vans that pick up evacuees fleeing Mariupol, including those who were in the theater that collapsed under the bombs,” he adds, saying proudly, “I counted, so far with various organizations. we rescued 27,000 people“.

Volunteers speak Russian, a language Nico learned years ago. He wakes up to the sound of sirens or bombs, then the phone calls and messages start and he runs to the different centers to hear what he needs. “There are hundreds of kilos of pasta but maybe there are no pans or these evacuees don’t have microwaves, so I’ll go get the boxes. I try to be efficient for what is needed at the moment and I also have to accommodate people – Explain -. That’s why I look for vacant apartments and get blankets. Two hundred old people have just arrived, where should I place them? In one of the centers where we have mattresses and inflatable beds. Organization is everything to be able to move forward in this war. Here, there are people who have escaped missiles and guns, with their lives in two shopping bags”.

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