Chef José Andrés makes emotional plea as he helps feed Ukrainian refugees

Chef José Andrés made an emotional plea to the world as he helped feed Ukrainian refugees at the Polish border, saying “we need to speak up against leaders breaking us apart.” 

Andrés shared a selfie-style video late Monday calling attention to the plight of Ukrainian people escaping violence in the country. He said “it’s hard to know” that Ukrainian refugees — mainly women with children — are outside in freezing temperatures or in their cars without gas waiting in line to leave the country. 

“Why do we put young men and women in this situation?” he said. “We didn’t learn enough from the horrors of the past.”

Andrés also took aim at Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called for the invasion into Ukraine. “People, we need to speak up against leaders that are breaking us apart…” he said. “Life is not a Monopoly game. Life is real. And the voiceless and the poor are always facing the consequences.” 

At least 677,000 people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began, and many more are expected to leave, according to the U.N. refugee agency. 

The renowned chef’s charity, World Central Kitchen, said it is now in Ukraine, Romania and Poland helping to feed hungry people who have been displaced. In a Tuesday update, Andrés filmed himself at a local bakery outside Lviv, Ukraine, where he helped provide flour to a bakery in need. 

“People need to be fed,” he said. “And sometimes in a bakery like this, you see people are helpful with the bread.” 

The U.N. and humanitarian agencies have launched an emergency appeal to raise $1.7 billion, citing a “steep rise in humanitarian needs as essential supplies and services are disrupted and civilians flee the fighting.” The U.N. estimates that 12 million Ukrainians will need protection and relief. 

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