Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has revealed that he personally called US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and asked him to get McDonald’s to reopen their fast-food restaurants in Ukraine.
- In an interview with a Ukrainian TV channel on Saturday, Kuleba said that one day he was driving and noticed that all the McDonald’s restaurants were closed. “I thought to myself, it’s understandable why there are no McDonald’s in Russia, but why don’t we have them?”
- After that, the minister says he called Blinken on the phone to discuss other issues and at the end of the conversation, he asked, “Tony, what is this mess? Why are we being treated this way?”
The Ukrainian official says he went on to point out that it was “unfair” that McDonald’s was closed in Ukraine and noted that the reopening of the popular restaurants would “signal to investors” that it is safe to work in the country.
The US-based fast-food chain initially closed all of its locations, citing security concerns, following the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. However, in September of that same year, it reopened its restaurants in Kiev. After that, it also reopened several locations in parts of Western Ukraine, with all the venues serving limited menus and employing expanded security rules to allow staff to quickly close the stores and get to shelters in case of an air alert.
Last month, Kuleba and Blinken visited a McDonald’s restaurant in Kiev during the secretary’s surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital.
According to Ukrainian media, Kuleba thanked Blinken for helping get the chain reopened and allegedly admitted that he often had breakfast at McDonald’s in his student years when he was hungover.
Speaking to reporters during their sit-down at the American fast-food joint over fries and a cherry pie, Kuleba suggested that having McDonald’s in Ukraine was “a message of confidence.”
In Russia, meanwhile, all McDonald’s restaurants have been rebranded as Vkusno i Tochka (‘Just Tasty’), which was created as part of the sale of the US franchise before its exit from the country due to sanctions. It offers essentially the same menu to its customers as the original.
In September, the owner of the Russian franchise, Aleksandr Govor, suggested that Vkusno i Tochka could potentially open locations in neighboring China, Belarus and Abkhazia and had officially submitted a request to McDonald’s to allow the expansion.