KYIV, Ukraine –
Actor Sean Penn, who was making a documentary about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, lent Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy one of two Oscars and told him, “When you win, bring it back to Malibu. “
Zelenskyy’s office on Wednesday released video footage of the encounter during Penn’s most recent visit to Ukraine, his third since the start of the war on February 24. The president tweeted that The Oscars are “symbol of faith in our nation’s victory.”
Penn, who has been involved in many international humanitarian and anti-war efforts over the years, told Zelenskyy that every time he leaves Ukraine “I feel like a traitor”.
“But if I knew this was here with you I would feel better and stronger for the battles,” Penn said as he took the statue from a black bag and placed it on the table in front of Zelenskyy. “When you win, bring it back to Malibu. Because I feel so much better knowing there’s a part of me here.”
Zelenskyy was hesitant at first about accepting the statue, then quipped: “We must win, quickly.”
It’s unclear when the encounter occurred or what Oscar Penn had in effect: Penn won two Academy Awards for best actor, in 2003 for “Mystic River” and in 2008 for “Milk.” .
His poster did not immediately respond to an email seeking insights on Wednesday.
Penn was one of the first to visit Ukraine after Russian troops moved into the country and he is working on a documentary about the invasion.
During their meeting, Zelenskyy presented Penn with an award, the Order of Merit of Ukraine, which is awarded to citizens for outstanding achievements in economic, scientific, cultural, military or political activities. Founded by former President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma in 1996, past recipients of the award have included Ukrainian academics and writers, as well as Soviet-era military commanders.
Video released by the presidential office later shows Penn and Zelenskyy walking around Kyiv and arriving at Constitution Square, across from the Ukrainian parliament building and presidential palace, where the “Walk of the Brave” is located – a walkway with placards glorifying the world. leaders showed solidarity with Ukraine. The walkway, which opened in August, has a square plaque on the ground engraved with Penn’s name and February 24, 2022, the date of the invasion.
Pointing to the placard, Penn tells Zelenskyy that there are three places in the world that are the source of his pride: “Where my daughter was born, where my son was born and here. Thank you.”