DC-Area Businesses Help Ukraine, See Backlash Against Russia

stand with ukraine sign
NBC Washington

Businesses in the D.C. area did what they could Monday to show support for Ukraine. Liquor stores in Virginia and Montgomery, County, Maryland, stopped selling Russian vodka, and some restaurants are donating profits. 

But one restaurant was vandalized twice because of its name.

The restaurant Russia House was vandalized twice over the weekend, first on Friday and again on Sunday. Co-owner Aaron McGovern described frustration. He said he’s not Russian and has no control over what’s happening. 

“It’s really sad because the pandemic really crushed us for the last two years,” he said. “This could be a nail in the coffin.” 

The windows were boarded up on Monday, and shards of glass could be seen. The door was damaged too. 

“I was sweeping up the glass out front, and I was confronted, and I was there 10 minutes,” McGovern said. 

In D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, D Light Cafe & Bakery is working to help Ukraine. Owners Vira and Anastasia Derun are Ukrainian and are donating funds. They’re constantly awaiting updates from family back home. 

“I feel so bad that I’m here and I cannot help them, and that’s hard. It’s really hard,” Vira Derun said. 

The invasion of their home country comes amid a hard year for them personally. A man set their bakery on fire last month and destroyed much of the front entrance. Despite it all, they still have hope. 

“I still believe that we will win the war and everything will come back to normal and I will be able to come to my home again,” Vira Derun said. 

In Bethesda, Maryland, the bar and restaurant Caddies on Cordell is pitching in. They renamed several drinks in support of Ukraine — turning the Moscow Mule into the Kyiv Mule — and will donate part of their profits. 

Co-owner Ronnie Heckman said they would do “everything we can do to work on trying to bring people together and unite people and bring attention to what’s going on over there right now.” 

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