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12th Apr 2022

Sean Penn says he’s ‘thinking about taking up arms against Russia’ – but wouldn’t wear body armour

Danny Jones

Sean Penn says he'd fight in Ukraine

He has been working on a documentary about the tensions in Ukraine since 2021

Sean Penn has said that he has considered taking up arms and joining the fight in Ukraine, having recently returned from a visit to the war-torn country.

The 61-year-old actor made the suggestion during an interview with Hollywood Authentic, where he detailed how he had visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy just a day before the invasion began on February 24.

Sean Penn signs relief aid contact for Ukraine

“If you’ve been in Ukraine [fighting] has to cross your mind,” explained Penn, “And you kind of think what century is this? Because I was at the gas station in Brentwood the other day and I’m now thinking about taking up arms against Russia? What the f*** is going on?”

Referencing his visit to see what conditions were like first-hand, he added that “the only possible reason for me staying in Ukraine longer last time would’ve been for me to be holding a rifle, probably without body armour”.

He noted that “as a foreigner, you would want to give that body armour to one of the civilian fighters”, those better or trained, or those even more vulnerable. The Hollywood star, filmmaker, and vocal humanitarian spoke of having previously been on the frontlines in Mariupol, one of many regions which have been on constant high alert since the annexation in 2014.

Penn was already in the country covering the rising tensions for an upcoming Vice documentary and has been doing vital relief aid work through his non-profit organisation, CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) since 2010.

Beginning with the Haiti disaster, Penn is now turning his focus to Ukraine, having recently visited Poland to sign a contract that will deliver aid to the millions of refugees now displaced there as a result of the Russian invasion.

Having first been inspired by the 2015 Netflix documentary, Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, the Dead Man Walking star contacted Zelenskyy about making his own over Zoom at the start of the pandemic and insists he has been obsessed with his “charisma” and “legacy” in uniting the nation ever since.

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