Sean Penn says the US has ‘lost its soul’ if it allows Ukraine to fight Russia alone

Penn is on the ground in Ukraine filming a documentary about the invasion

Annabel Nugent
Saturday 26 February 2022 17:18
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Sean Penn has said if the US allows Ukraine to fight Russia alone, “our soul as America is lost”.

Penn was photographed in Ukraine at a press briefing by the Ukrainian government in Kiev on Thursday (24 February) as Russia began a full-scale attack on its neighbour.

The actor released a statement on Friday night (25 February) condemning Russian president Vladimir Putin for making a “horrible mistake for all of humankind”.

“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.

The 61-year-old continued: “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.”

The I Am Sam actor is on the ground filming a documentary about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Vice Studios have confirmed to Variety.

Penn previously visited the country in November 2021 to begin preparing for his documentary.

As per Newsweek, the actor arrived in Kiev earlier this week. According to the publication, he met with deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk, as well as members of the military and local journalists.

Ukrainian service members look for and collect unexploded shells after a fighting with Russian raiding group in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in the morning of 26 February

The office of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a statement in praise of Penn’s “bravery”.

“Sean Penn is demonstrating bravery that many others have been lacking, in particular some Western politicians,” reads a translation of the statement.

Penn previously directed the 2020 documentary Citizen Penn, about the process of founding his non-profit organisation Core (Community Organised Relief Effort) in the wake of the Haiti earthquake in 2010.

Core also deployed teams to help with Covid-19 testing and vaccinations during the pandemic.

Ukraine’s health minister Viktor Liashko has said that 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed since Russia’s invasion began.

Liashko added that 1,115 people have been injured, including 33 children, according to operation data.

UK armed forces minister James Heappey said that Russia’s invasion plan is “nowhere near running to schedule” amid resistance from the Ukrainian people.

You can follow along with updates at The Independent’s Russia-Ukraine liveblog here.

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