VIDEO FOOTAGE: Hollywood actor, Sean Penn, gives his Oscar to Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in Kyiv, Ukraine as a symbol of hope for victory KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Tuesday, November 8, 2022

VIDEO FOOTAGE: Hollywood actor, Sean Penn, gives his Oscar to Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in Kyiv, Ukraine as a symbol of hope for victory

Hollywood actor, Sean Penn, gives his Oscar to Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in Kyiv, Ukraine as a symbol of hope for victory.

American actor Sean Penn has given his Oscar to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a visit to the capital Kyiv.

Video posted on Mr Zelensky's Telegram channel also showed the president awarding Penn Ukraine's Order of Merit.

Penn, who is known for his political activism as much as he is for his films, fled Ukraine in March while filming a documentary about the conflict.

He later said he considered joining Ukrainian forces to fight against Russia.

Kremlin officials previously added Penn, and fellow actor Ben Stiller, to Russia's "stop list", meaning they are now banned from entering the country.

Returning to the Ukrainian capital to see Zelensky, whom he earlier referred to as his 'great friend', Penn was filmed withdrawing one of his Academy Awards from a bag and placing it on the Ukrainian president's desk.

'This is for you,' the actor told Zelensky. 'It's just a symbolic silly thing, but if I know this is here with you then I'll feel better and stronger for the fight...

'When you win, bring it back to Malibu. I'll feel much better knowing a piece of me is here,' he concluded. 

Zelensky, who prior to his entry into politics was a well-known actor and comedian, was clearly flattered and gratefully accepted the Oscar statuette, describing it as a 'great honour'.

He was later seen carefully placing the golden trophy on the mantelpiece in his presidential office.

Zelensky in turn presented Penn with a Ukrainian Order of Merit to thank him 'for his sincere support and significant contribution to the popularisation of Ukraine in the world'.

Penn, who won a pair of Best Actor academy awards for his performances in Mystic River (2003) and Milk (2008), is one of several prominent US actors to have made the journey to Ukraine since Russian tanks rolled across the border on February 24.

He was banned from entering Russia in September when Vladimir Putin's foreign ministry added him, along with Ben Stiller, to a list of US citizens barred from the country due to his overt criticism of the conflict.

Penn was in Ukraine recording a documentary when Russia invaded and was forced to flee, crossing into Poland like many Ukrainian refugees.

He has since expressed great admiration for Zelensky, and also admitted he'd considered taking up arms to fight alongside the Ukrainian military as it continues to battle Russian forces in Ukraine's south east.

'Part of what makes [Zelensky] so particularly extraordinary is that courage, he's the face of so many Ukrainians. I mean this is leadership we aspire to, this is freedom of thought and true leadership that mostly is just so moving,' Penn said earlier this year.

Russian and Ukrainian forces remain locked in a stalemate throughout much of the south east of Ukraine. 

Zelensky today hinted at the possibility of peace talks with Russia - a shift from his earlier refusal to negotiate with Vladimir Putin.

The Ukrainian president urged the international community to 'force Russia into real peace talks' and listed his usual conditions for dialogue – the return of all of Ukraine's occupied lands, compensation for damage caused by the war and the prosecution of war crimes.

The announcement signalled a change in rhetoric for Zelensky, who in September signed a decree stating 'the impossibility of holding talks' with Putin. 

But since his preconditions appear to be non-starters for Moscow, it is unlikely that his apparent willingness to reopen communications with the Kremlin will yield any results.

In the eastern Donetsk region of Ukraine, which the Russians are struggling to take full control of, Moscow's shelling killed three civilians and wounded seven others over the past 24 hours, according to Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.

Mr Kyrylenko said the fatalities occurred in the city of Bakhmut, a key target of Russia's grinding offensive in Donetsk, and the town of Krasnohorivka. Ukraine's deputy defence minister last week described the Bakhmut area as 'the epicentre' of fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Elsewhere, two civilians were seriously wounded by unexploded mines in Ukraine's north-eastern Kharkiv region, where Kyiv's forces retook broad swathes of territory in September, Kharkiv governor Oleh Synehubov said.

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