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An Open Letter to Celebrities from the Presidential Office of Ukraine – The Hollywood Reporter

When you talk about Ukraine, the world listens.

They are celebrities. When you stand for freedom against tyranny, your voices resonate like no one else’s. When you show the public the terror that is happening to Ukraine, you mobilize the world to take action against it. As Ukrainians, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Your support for my country has been – and will remain – crucial to ensuring that the public sees the atrocities that Russians commit every day against Ukrainian citizens, including children. You’ve seen Bucha, you’ve seen Mariupol, you’ve now seen the carnage of 21st century Europe. This slaughter has reduced Ukraine’s glorious, historic cities to rubble and their churches to mass graves. People see these pictures and feel the pain that Ukrainians feel. But as the war rages on, the media pays less attention and the networks slow down their coverage of Ukraine, global audiences will lose touch with the brutal reality of the war. Life will go on for many around the world.

But we will fight anyway. Brave Ukrainians will risk their lives every day to save their fellow citizens, their country and their choice for freedom against Putin’s brutal will, bent on fulfilling his 20th-century fantasies of ending an entire nation and its citizens from the map and wipe out from the future. But the Ukrainian spirit cannot be extinguished, not only for Ukrainians but for the whole world. Your support for Ukraine ensures this.

For this reason, we ask you, world stars, to keep doing what you are doing. Especially over time. Please continue to draw attention to Ukraine lest American society and others around the world lose touch with the war raging on a distant continent. Although you may not see the slaughter, you will know the terror and destruction that the Russians are sowing in Ukraine every day.

We’re not just appealing to distant audiences. It’s also for Ukrainians. Your support and recognition of our grief fills us with pride and motivates us to keep fighting. Putin believes that the US and the West will soon lose interest in Ukraine. That’s what he’s counting on. But with your understanding and support, we will make him lose this bet.

International celebrities have reinforced and engaged all sections of Ukrainian society to help our country. Through various channels and initiatives, you play a crucial role. And you don’t just influence public opinion. Celebrities are influencing US policy towards Ukraine – making it stronger and more resilient. Whether through social media posts, TV appearances or working with charities, government agencies, international organizations, businesses or grassroots organizations, you have helped integrate these sectors and become a force multiplier in raising awareness and urging action and support for Ukraine to become .

The collective influence of celebrities shapes the narrative of Ukraine. You help the US and Europe deliver arms and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, which saves lives and brings Ukraine closer to victory every day.

As Russia unleashed its war, Sean Penn was in Ukraine shooting a documentary about Ukraine. Just one day before the Russians marched in, he was sitting across from President Zelenskyy in the President’s office with all the formalities of a presidential visit. A day later the world changed and so did Sean Penn’s mission in my country. We will never forget how he wanted to take up arms against Russia and fight with our Ukrainian soldiers, or how he threatened to destroy his Oscars if President Zelenskyy was not invited to the Oscars. Sean Penn’s commitment to Ukraine continues to inspire a nation at war, as do all of the celebrities who support Ukraine.

Shortly after the Russian invasion, Arnold Schwarzenegger took to Twitter to speak directly to the Russian people. He begged them to learn the truth about Putin’s brutal and unprovoked war. Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher were also among the first to respond to our grief, raising millions to support refugees. John Legend raised awareness among the American people when he dedicated his song to Ukraine at the Grammy Awards, as did everyone who performed at the Global Citizen event hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Commission President Ursula von which, was co-hosted by Leyen, including U2, Madonna, Alanis Morissette, Billie Eilish, Billy Joel, Chris Rock, Celine Dion, Hugh Jackman, Green Day, Demi Lovato, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Gloria Steinem, the Jonas Brothers, Katy Perry, and many more.

Designers like Demna Gvasalia brought our freedom struggle to the attention of the fashion world. Bono and his U2 bandmate The Edge performed at a Kiev subway station on May 8 for those who have been taking shelter underground for over two months, and there is no end in sight. People will remember those performances and what they—you—stand for.

You are also heavily involved in supporting humanitarian organizations in Ukraine. Liev Schreiber and Angelina Jolie have visited Ukraine and donated their time, personal energy and star power to raise awareness of the lifesaving work these organizations are doing in Ukraine and for refugee communities across Europe. Benedict Cumberbatch takes in a refugee family. Very soon, Elon’s brother Kimbal Musk will also visit Ukraine to share the plight of all Ukrainians through his eyes.

You showed the world Ukraine. They have helped advance the political debate in the US, Europe and in international organizations such as the UN. We are eternally grateful to you for taking action in so many unique and heartfelt ways. Although Ukrainians are fighting for their country and their compatriots, we are also fighting for all those who want the freedom to live in a democratic world. You know that. They share this with the world when it is so much needed.

Thanks.

Andriy Yermak is the head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine

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