Rebels have controlled the eastern portion of Ukraine including Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts since 2014. As a result the coffee market there is quite different. Most coffee houses closed at the beginning of the armed conflict. Only a few now operate — many with no choice as they are considered important sources of taxes needed to finance rebel operations. Rebels demand that coffee shops register under new legislation that requires owners to pay a percentage of their gross. Doing so is considered a crime in Kiev. As a result most coffee houses simply left the region rather than choose sides.
There have been some tense incidents. The Lviv Chocolate Workshop in Donetsk, operated for two years near the front line but was forced to leave the city when shop owners refused to sell coffee to some officials of the self-proclaimed republics. There is no statistical data, but it is believe that two out of every three coffee houses in Donetsk and Luhansk have closed in the past two years.
Since the rebel republics are not recognized by any state in the world, international coffee chains cannot develop there, under the threat of sanctions, leaving the future of this sector in the eastern regions unclear.
- Vladislav Voronikov