Civilians have made their way to the Ukrainian border after Russian military forces invaded the country last week.
Among the asylum seekers who escaped into neighboring countries like Poland was American actor Sean Penn, who said he and two colleagues escaped Ukraine after abandoning their car and traveling for miles on foot.
On February 28, the I Am Sam actor shared a photo of his journey.
"Myself & two colleagues walked miles to the Polish border after abandoning our car on the side of the road," he wrote in the caption.
"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 was in the country filming a documentary about Russian aggression towards Ukraine.
He had attended press briefings in the capital city of Kyiv where he met with officials and interviewed journalists and military personnel about the crisis facing the country.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office praised the filmmaker on Facebook.
“Sean Penn demonstrates the courage that many others, especially western politicians lack,” read the post.
“The director specially came to Kiev 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.”
Critics who may not have shared the same views as Penn gave him credit where it was due.
And Poland eagerly anticipated his arrival.
Outside of his career in Hollywood, Penn has performed international humanitarian efforts.
Penn traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana in September 2005 to provide aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina and was physically involved in rescuing people.
Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, he founded the J/P Haitian Relief Organization, which operated a tent camp housing 55,000 people.
In 2019, the non-profit organization changed its name to CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) and globally expanded its relief efforts, including in the U.S., where CORE administered free COVID-19 vaccinations at the height of the pandemic in March 2020.
In March 2012, Penn visited flood-stricken villages in Pakistan and–alongside U.S. Consul General William J. Martin–helped distribute blankets, quilts and kitchen items to flood survivors.
Many of the 280,000 refugees who sought safety in Poland since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the broad attack on Ukraine are women and children.
Since Kyiv decreed a full military mobilization, Ukrainian men ages 18-60 are required to stay in the country to help fight off Russian forces.
Penn lauded the Ukrainian President and the people for their bravery in an interview with Newsweek.
"President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people have risen as historic symbols of courage and principle," he said.
"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."
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