As millions of Ukrainians take shelter from Russian attacks, and thousands try to flee the country, one Hollywood star has headed the other way.
Oscar-winner Sean Penn flew into Kyiv on Thursday – as the bombs started falling – to capture events for an upcoming documentary.
The 61-year-old actor was photographed at a press briefing shortly after.
“The director specially came to Kyiv to record all the events that are currently happening in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country. Sean Penn is among those who support Ukraine in Ukraine today. Our country is grateful to him for such a show of courage and honesty,” the office of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky told Newsweek.
“Sean Penn is demonstrating bravery that many others have been lacking, in particular some Western politicians.
“The more people like that – true friends of Ukraine, who support the fight for freedom – the quicker we can stop this heinous invasion by Russia.”
The project is a Vice Studios production in association with Vice World News and Endeavor Content.
Penn’s arrival in Ukraine this week came after he was photographed in November, in a helmet and protective gear while meeting Ukrainian troops on the frontlines for the documentary. Photos of that trip were released at the time by the Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation Press Service.
Russia’s bombardment of Ukraine by air, land and sea continued on Friday.
On Friday morning, Mr Zelensky said the Ukrainian death toll had risen to 137, while hundreds more have been wounded. The interior ministry said 13 border guards died when a Russian vessel shelled Ukraine’s Zmiinyi Island, south of the Black Sea port of Odessa.