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Sean Penn Thought About Taking Up Arms Against Russia

Sean Penn Thought About Taking Up Arms Against Russia

He was in Ukraine filming when the war broke out, having met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy just a day before Russia invaded

Sean Penn has revealed he once considered 'taking up arms’ against Russia, saying if you’ve ever been in Ukraine, the thought of fighting has to ‘cross your mind’. 

Penn, 61, was in Ukraine filming a documentary when the war broke out, having met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy just a day before Russian forces invaded. 

In a new interview with Hollywood Authentic, the actor reflected on his time in Ukraine – admitting he found himself thinking about fighting against Russia. 

Penn was asked if he felt apprehensive about going back into a war zone, having founded nonprofit organisation CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) in 2010. 

Sean Penn.

He explained that he’s neither a ‘conflict zone journalist who stays months or years in a place that’s really sketchy’, nor a ‘soldier’, meaning that he doesn’t feel ‘statistically’ that he’s ‘really taken any risks at all’. 

Penn said: “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, because as a foreigner, you would want to give that body armour to one of the civilian fighters who doesn’t have it or to a fighter with more skills than I have, or to a younger man or woman who could fight for longer or whatever. 

“So, where I am in life is short of doing that, but if you’ve been in Ukraine [fighting] has to cross your mind. 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**k is going on?” 

Penn said he plans to return to the country, but is unsure how he might be able to help. 

He said: “Look, my intention is to go back into Ukraine. But I’m not an idiot, I am not certain what I can offer. I don’t spend a lot of time texting the president or his staff while they’re under siege and their people are being murdered. 

“I’d probably send one message through the chief of staff. ‘Here’s what I’m looking to do that I think would be of value. You only have to answer me in one of two ways: don’t come or come and do what you’re planning, or come, but here’s where you could be more helpful.’” 


The star also spoke about his time with Zelenskyy, having originally met the leader during the pandemic on Zoom ‘before the thread of more than the border war became real’. 

Penn said the two had virtually started discussing the potential of a documentary about Ukraine, although at this point it ‘wasn’t focused particularly on the war’. 

Since then, there have been ‘a lot of exchanges’ between them, but it was only the day before the Russian invasion that he actually met Zelenskyy. 

“And I was with him during the invasion, on day one,” Penn explained, going on to say that there was a clear shift in those two meetings.

He added: “Seeing him the next day, it struck me that I was now looking at a guy who knew that he had to rise to the ultimate level of human courage and leadership. I think he found out that he was born to do that." 

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/@zelenskiy_official/Instagram

Topics: Celebrity, Ukraine, Russia