Academy Award-winning actor, activist Sean Penn was recently in Ukraine to continue working on a documentary in association with VICE Studios on Russian aggression against the Eastern European country. He then joined the fleeing Ukrainians on the exodus across the Polish border.
Now, in his first televised interview after the Russian invasion, he has spoken about his experience with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Appearing emaciated, haggard, and disheveled, Penn praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for his courage and dignity.
He juxtaposed the President’s outlook before the invasion and on the very day, and said he was in “the presence of something that was new to the modern world in terms of courage and dignity…. and love that comes out of the man.”
“This is an extraordinary moment. The way he has unified that country. And I think Mr Putin certainly paved the way for that. I was endlessly impressed and moved by him and terrified for him and for Ukraine,” Penn added, on the verge of tears.
Penn also talked about the bleak “new reality” of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians in which plenty of well-to-do had to leave their jobs and bank accounts. He painted a dim picture of the future and said that it does not look like Russian President Vladimir Putin is backing down anytime soon.
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“A lot of the people, plenty of them well-to-do, left their jobs and bank accounts behind, and so this is their new reality,” he said.
Earlier, Penn had received praise and also brickbats for filming the documentary in the war-torn country.