The Hollywood actor and director visited Ukraine as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and met with Zelensky after touring occupied settlements in the Kyiv region, the Ukraine leader’s official website said in a press release.
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In a video that appeared on Twitter, Stiller and Zelensky warmly greeted one another before they sat down to discuss the plight of refugees in the war-torn country displaced by an invasion by Russia and its military. “You’re my hero!” a beaming Zoolander star said at one point as his visit marked World Refugee Day.
Stiller was accompanied by UNHCR representative in Ukraine Karolina Lindholm Billing, who accompanied the Hollywood actor as he walked through ruined residential areas of Irpin, where they talked to people who survived the occupation.
“It’s one thing to see this destruction on TV or on social networks. Another thing is to see it all with your own eyes. That’s a lot more shocking,” Stiller told Zelensky. “What you saw in Irpin is definitely dreadful. But it is even worse to just imagine what is happening in the settlements that are still under temporary occupation in the east,” Zelensky said in response.
Zelensky and Stiller discussed support for temporarily displaced persons in Ukraine, as well as those in Poland, with whom Stiller had visited on Sunday. Zelensky also emphasized the violation of the rights of Ukrainians forcibly deported to Russia, including children.
Stiller also appeared in a separate video appeal that streamed on the UNHCR Instagram page. “Hey, I’m Ben Stiller and I’m here in the Ukraine. War and violence are devastating people all over the world. Nobody chooses to flee their home. Seeking safety is a right. And it needs to be upheld for every person,” he said.