Update: Sean Penn has left Ukraine and it doesn't look like the process was easy. The actor-director, who flew to the country to work on a Vice Studios documentary about Russia's invasion, tweeted a photo showing him walking toward the Polish border, luggage in hand, with a line of vehicles stretching into the background. "Myself & two colleagues walked miles to the Polish border after abandoning our car on the side of the road," Penn wrote. "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." A US family who escaped Ukraine to Poland on Feb. 25 said they had to walk the final 8 miles with traffic stalled. CNN confirmed Penn got out. Our original story from Feb. 24 follows:
That really was Sean Penn at a government briefing about the Russian attack Thursday in Kyiv. The Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker is doing a documentary about the invasion, Variety reports, that he began work on during a visit in November. The president's office posted a photo of Penn in the front row for the briefing on Facebook, saying that he'd met with Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, military personnel, and journalists, per USA Today.
"Sean Penn demonstrates the courage that many others, especially western politicians lack," the president's office posted on Facebook, saying that he went there "to tell the world the truth about Russia's invasion of our country." Penn, who founded the nonprofit disaster relief organization CORE, has been involved in several antiwar and humanitarian efforts. A video of President Volodymyr Zelensky meeting with Penn went up on the Ukrainian leader's Instagram account. Zelensky acted professionally before entering politics, per CNN. (Read more Sean Penn stories.)