Hollywood actor and director Ben Stiller met with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday to mark World Refugee Day.
The Zoolander actor has travelled to Ukraine as a Goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees after touring occupied settlements in the capital city as Russia’s ongoing invasion there forces millions to flee.
According to the official press release, both men said they were honored to meet each other. “You’re my hero,” the Night at the Museum actor told Zelenskyy inside the presidential palace. “You’re amazing. You quit a great acting career for this.”
“Not so great as yours,” Zelenskyy responded back with a smile. “No, but pretty great,” Stiller joked. “But what you’ve done and the way that you’ve rallied the country and for the world, it’s really inspiring.”
Stiller traveled to Ukraine ‘to see the scale of destruction,’ the UNHCR said in a release. He also spoke with survivors in the city of Irpin.
“It’s hard to understand what’s actually going on here if you haven’t been here,” Stiller said to Zelenskyy, noting his travels to Irpin and his shock at seeing the destruction in person that he had seen on TV only.
“It’s something else to actually see it and feel it, and then to talk to the people, we talked to a bunch of people this morning,” Stiller said. “And that’s a lot more shocking.”
The comedian-turned-Ukrainian president replied, “What you saw in Irpin is definitely dreadful. But it is even worse to just imagine what is happening in the settlements that are still under temporary occupation in the east.”
The Tropic Thunder actor also issued a statement ‘Seeking safety is a right,’ emphasizing how it’s everyone’s responsibility to help those affected by war.