Filmmaker and actor Sean Penn confirmed he evacuated to Polandas the crisis between Russia and Ukraine escalates.
Penn has been grounded in Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian onslaught to work on a documentary about the conflict. The actor shared a photo on Monday of himself carrying a suitcase as he walked along a troubled highway as many others tried to flee Ukraine.
“Myself and two colleagues drove miles to the Polish border after dumping our car on the side of the road,” Penn wrote. “Almost all the cars in this photo are carrying only women and children, most with no sign of luggage, and a car is their only valuable asset.”
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The 61-year-old actor has been giving updates, attending press briefings and capturing frontline footage since his first visit there in November. Here are all the updates he gave on the Ukraine-Russia crisis.
Sean Penn: Russian invasion ‘a brutal mistake’
Days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the country’s military operation in eastern Ukraine, Penn called the ongoing invasion “a brutal mistake of lives taken and hearts broken” in a statement at USA TODAY on Saturday.
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“If he doesn’t give in, I think Mr. Putin will have made a most horrible mistake for all of humanity,” Penn said, adding that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people “have established themselves as historical symbols of courage and principle. Ukraine is the tip of the spear of the democratic embrace of dreams. If we leave it to fight alone, our soul as America is lost.
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Sean Penn attends Ukrainian press briefings
The president’s office wrote in a Facebook post Thursday that the actor and filmmaker attended press briefings, met with Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk and spoke to reporters and military personnel about the Russian invasion.
“Sean Penn is showing courage that many others lack, especially Western politicians,” the president’s office wrote on Facebook. “The director came to Kyiv especially to record all the events currently taking place in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country.”
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Penn captures footage months before the invasion
Penn visited Ukraine months before the invasion began on Wednesday.
The actor was in the country to take photos of what would be the front lines in the Donetsk region in November. Stills from the upcoming documentary, produced by VICE Studios, show the actor visiting the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The Oscar winner has been involved in numerous international humanitarian and anti-war efforts over the years and founded the non-profit disaster relief organization CORE in response to the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti, reported in the documentary “Citizen Penn”.
Contributor: Brian Truitt, USA TODAY; The Associated Press