Sean Penn on his relationship with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy

Oscar winner Sean Penn has spoken about his relationship with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and how he hopes to continue supporting the war effort.

In his opening issue to Hollywood Authentic Magazine, Penn, 61, spoke about the communications he had with Mr Zelensky and the work he has been doing on a documentary about Ukraine.

Penn said: “I originally met him on Zoom before the threat of more than the border war became real.

“That was at the beginning of the pandemic in the US. We first started by discussing a possible documentary about his country that didn’t particularly focus on the war.


Sean Penn on the cover of brand new Hollywood Authentic magazine (Greg Williams/PA)

“And since then there have been a lot of exchanges between us. Then I went and met him face to face the day before the invasion. And I was with him on the first day of the invasion.”

Penn has spoken about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, most recently in a number of US television appearances, including interviews on The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell and the Fox News show Hannity.

He told the new magazine, which was launched by entertainment photographer Greg Williams: “Look, my intention is to go back to Ukraine. But I’m not an idiot, I’m not sure what I can offer.

“I don’t spend a lot of time texting the President or his staff while they’re under siege and their people are being assassinated.”

In 2010, Penn founded the charity J/P Haiti Relief Organization in response to the Haiti earthquake.

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The charity changed its name to Core – Community Organized Relief Effort – in 2019 to expand its work globally.

Core has since helped people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and recently began supporting the war effort in Ukraine.

Penn said he is involved with Core’s work and continues to shoot footage for his documentary on Ukraine, while regularly considering whether his work will bring “value”.

“I have a lot to do with Core on the reception side of refugees in Poland. I’m shooting more for the documentary, but I’ll make a last-minute assessment of what value that will have,” he said.

“People will argue that, and I understand there’s a million debates, but over the long term we don’t have any tangible evidence that documentaries are really making a difference.

“We just don’t do it. All we know is that they can give hope.

“The only possible reason for my prolonged stay in Ukraine would have been that I was holding a rifle, probably without body armor, because as a foreigner you would want to give that body armor to one of the civilian fighters who doesn’t have it, or to a fighter with more skill than me, or to a younger man or woman who could fight longer or whatever.

“So where I am in life, that’s brief, but if you’ve been (fought) in Ukraine, that must come to mind. And you kind of think, “What century is this?”

“Because I was at the gas station in Brentwood the other day and now I’m thinking about taking up arms against Russia? What the hell is going on?

The full interview with Sean Penn is available now at Sean Penn on his relationship with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy

Fry Electronics Team

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