Sean Penn on Invasion of Ukraine: ‘If We Allow It to Fight Alone, Our Soul as America Is Lost’

Sean Penn
Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation Press Service via AP

Sean Penn, who is in Ukraine filming a documentary about Russia’s invasion, released a statement on Friday night after appearing at a press briefing in the capital of Kyiv on Thursday, where he listened to government officials talk about the crisis.

“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. “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.”

This week, Newsweek reported that “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.” The Office of the President issued a statement praising the Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker, noting that the director had come to Kyiv to record events that were unfolding in Ukraine “and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country.”

The doc is a Vice Studios production in association with Vice World News and Endeavor Content. Penn last flew to Ukraine in November 2021. He started preparing for his documentary by visiting with the country’s military.

Penn’s non-profit organization Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) was set up in response to the Haiti earthquake of 2010 and also deployed teams to aid with COVID-19 testing and vaccines across the country.