UPDATED: Sean Penn is on the ground in Ukraine filming a documentary about Russia’s invasion, Vice Studios confirmed. The Oscar-winning actor appeared at a press briefing Thursday in the Ukraine capital of Kyiv listening to government officials speak about the crisis.
The doc is a Vice Studios production in association with Vice World News and Endeavor Content.
Penn last visited Ukraine in November 2021 and started preparing for his documentary by visiting with the country’s military. Photos of Penn’s November trip were released at the time by the Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation Press Service.
“Penn has visited the Office of the President and spoken with deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk, as well as local journalists and members of the Ukrainian military” since arriving in Ukraine this week, wrote Newsweek. The Office of the President issued a statement through the Ukrainian embassy praising the Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker.
“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,” the statement’s translation reads. ‘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 statement adds, “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.”
Penn has been at the center of many anti-war and humanitarian operations over the years. The 2020 Discovery Plus documentary “Citizen Penn” recounted the actor’s efforts in setting up the non-profit organization Community Organized Relief Effort, also known as CORE, in response to the Haiti earthquakes of 2010. CORE also deployed teams to help with COVID-19 testing and vaccines across the country.
“Already a brutal mistake of lives taken and hearts broken, and if he doesn’t relent, I believe Mr. Putin will have made a most horrible mistake for all of humankind,” Penn said on Friday. “President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people have risen as historic symbols of courage and principle. Ukraine is the tip of the spear for the democratic embrace of dreams. If we allow it to fight alone, our soul as America is lost.”