Ukraine attack: Sean Penn says Putin made ‘brutal mistake’

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Sean Penn is speaking out about the harm Russian President Vladimir Putin has caused the world as his invasion into Ukraine continues to escalate.

In a new statement, Penn, 61, condemned Putin and applauded Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for his response to the conflict.

“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 in the statement, which he later shared to Twitter.

The “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” actor went on to praise the people of Ukraine and their leader for their bravery. 

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“President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people have risen as historic symbols of courage and principle,” he wrote. “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 arrived in Kyiv this week to film a documentary about the crisis.

“American actor and film director, Oscar winner Sean Penn arrived in Ukraine,” a translated statement from the Office of the President of Ukraine’s Facebook page stated. “The director came to Kyiv specifically to record all the events taking place in Ukraine as a documentary filmmaker and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country.”

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Actor and director Sean Penn attends a press briefing at the presidential office in Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 24, 2022. 

Actor and director Sean Penn attends a press briefing at the presidential office in Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 24, 2022. 
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS )

“Today, Sean Penn is among those who support Ukraine in Ukraine,” the statement added. “Our country is grateful to him for such a display of courage and honesty. This morning, the director visited the office of the president and attended a press briefing by Iryna Vereshchuk, adviser to the head of the office of the head of state and vice prime minister – minister for reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. He talked to journalists, to our military, saw how we defend our country.

“Sean Penn demonstrates the courage that many others, including Western politicians, lack. The more such people in our country now, true friends of Ukraine, who support the struggle for freedom, the sooner it will be possible to stop Russia’s treacherous attack.”

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“The director has already arrived in Ukraine in November 2021,” the statement concluded. “As part of the preparation of the documentary, he visited the Azov region and talked with the Ukrainian military.”

Penn was photographed attending a press briefing at the presidential office. He also met with Ukrainian presidential adviser Alexander Rodnyansky on Tuesday night before the conflict escalated.

“On a slightly more positive note today in spite of the political and military situation: Exciting, fun and captivating conversation over dinner with @SeanPenn, who came to #Kyiv at this critical moment. #StandWithUkraine,” Rodnyansky tweeted.

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An Instagram account for Zelenskyy showed a video via Instagram Story of the 44-year-old having a discussion with Penn. 

“The more people know about the war in the Ukraine, the higher the likelihood of stopping Russia!” the caption stated. 

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