Sean Penn Offers Help for Ukrainian Refugees in Poland

Actor Sean Penn signed an agreement Friday to help house Ukrainian refugees  fleeing their war-ravaged homeland in Poland.

The actor and director, 61, held a press conference at a building in Rzeszow, Poland on Friday vowing to help provide housing through his charity for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.

Penn’s charity CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort), which was founded in 2010 to help earthquake victims in Haiti, reached a deal with Mayor of Krakow Jacek Majchrowski to supply aid to Ukrainian refugees.

CORE also will fund the renovation of buildings designated to house up to 50 refugees in Krakow.

Poland and Romania have taken the majority of refugees since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February roughly a month ago.

Penn commended Poland for being such an inviting host to Ukrainians.

‘There is tremendous love in this country and that is inspiring to all of us and it only makes us want to dig in our heels further in the partnerships,’ he told reporters.

He reiterated that his charity is in the region ‘to support and strengthen the efforts of the community.’

‘Our hope and our intention in this historic and heartbreaking situation is that were able to bring attention and advocate and raise the funds for resources that might not otherwise be there and to be able to scale up exponentially over the next months,’ he said.

He said he is aware that no one knows how things will play out but that they are there for the long haul

‘This is a circumstance that is not going to be a sprint, we’ve got a marathon ahead,’ he said.

He wrapped up by saying that taking in refugees is one of the most honorable things anyone can do.

‘While each country and each culture, each people have their own great individual value, I don’t know a greater value than opening your doors to those when they need it, in this case to the heroic people of Ukraine. With that I just say “thank you” he said.

Penn has been filming a VICE documentary on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in recent months. He previously revealed that he walked miles to the Polish border earlier this year as he filmed.

The star said both he and his film crew decided to abandon their car and continue on foot after seeing thousands of Ukrainians fleeing, and lines that stretched for miles.

At the end of February, Penn described on Twitter how cars were filled with women and children, and that they were carrying very little.

Sharing a picture of himself dragging a taped up suitcase, Penn wrote: ‘Myself & two colleagues walked miles to the Polish border after abandoning our car on the side of the road.

‘Almost all the cars in this photo carry women & children only, most without any sign of luggage, and a car their only possession of value.’

Penn has been filming the documentary about the escalating tension in Ukraine since November.

He has called President Vladmir Putin’s war on Ukraine a ‘mistake’.

Penn wrote on social media last month: ‘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. President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people have risen as historic symbols of courage and principle.’

He added: ‘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.’

Penn flew into the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, in February and was seen sitting front and center at a government press briefing mere hours into the invasion, which Putin deemed a ‘special military operation’.

The documentary is a VICE Studios production, ‘in association with VICE World News and Endeavor Content,’ according to a spokesman for the media group.

In a translated Facebook post, the Ukrainian government said it was grateful for Penn and he was lauded as being more courageous than Western leaders.

‘An American actor and filmmaker, Oscar winner Sean Penn arrived to Ukraine,’ the statement read.

‘The director specially came to Kyiv to record all the events that are currently happening in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country.

‘Sean Penn is among those who support Ukraine in Ukraine today. Our country is grateful to him for such a show of courage and honesty.

‘This morning the director visited the Office of the President and visited the press briefing of the advisor of the head of the Office of the Head of State Mikhail Podolâk and the Vice Prime Minister – the Minister of the Reintegration of temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine Irina Vere щуuk.

‘He spoke to journalists, to our military, saw how we defend our country.

‘Sean Penn demonstrates the courage that many others, especially western politicians lack.’

He then met with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, who posted a video of their meeting on his Instagram account.

Their conversation was muted but Zelensky, a former comedian and actor himself, wrote in a caption: ‘The more people know about the war in the Ukraine, the higher the likelihood of stopping Russia!’

The United States government officially announced on Wednesday that it believed members of Russia’s armed forces have committed war crimes in its invasion of Ukraine.

‘Our assessment is based on a careful review of available information from public and intelligence sources,’ said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

‘As with any alleged crime, a court of law with jurisdiction over the crime is ultimately responsible for determining criminal guilt in specific cases.’

The announcement was issued as he traveled with President Joe Biden to Europe for a NATO summit.

He said the number of civilian casualties was climbing every day that Russia’s brutal attacks were allowed to continue

‘We’ve seen numerous credible reports of indiscriminate attacks and attacks deliberately targeting civilians, as well as other atrocities,’ said Blinken, citing Ukrainian officials who had counted 2,400 dead in the besieged city of Mariupol.

‘Russia’s forces have destroyed apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, civilian vehicles, shopping centers, and ambulances, leaving thousands of innocent civilians killed or wounded.’

The Russian ground invasion remains largely stalled. Fierce Ukrainian resistance and a steady flow of weapons from outside the country combined with poor planning by Moscow and failing morale mean its main advance is still about 10 miles from the capital Kyiv.

U.S. defense officials said Russia is instead relying on long range artillery, missile and rocket attacks.

The result is a terrible toll on Ukraine’s civilian population. The United Nations estimates more than 3.5 million people have fled the country since the beginning of the invasion.

The World Health Organization said it had verified 64 attacks on healthcare facilities, including ambulances.

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