Ben Stiller has met with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.
The actor and Severance director, who is a long-term goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), visited Kyiv on World Refugee Day yesterday (June 20).
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During their meeting Stiller described Zelensky as his hero, thanking him for his service to his country and the rest of the world.
“Sir, really nice to meet you,” said Stiller as they shook hands. “Thanks for taking the time. You’re my hero, for what you’ve done in this country and for the world.”
Stiller also complimented Zelensky on his “great acting career”, to which the President laughingly replied: “Not as great as you.”
It was an honour to meet President @ZelenskyyUa on #WorldRefugeeDay as part of my visit with UNHCR @Refugees to stand in solidarity with people forced to flee in Ukraine and worldwide, and bring more attention to the humanitarian situation. @Refugees #WithRefugees pic.twitter.com/zpNpva233j
— Ben Stiller (@BenStiller) June 20, 2022
In a video posted on his Instagram, Stiller explained that he was visiting Ukraine to meet the people who had been affected by the ongoing war in the country.
“Hey, I’m Ben Stiller, and I’m here in Ukraine,” he began the video. “I’m meeting people who’ve been impacted by the war and hearing how it’s changed their lives. War and violence are devastating people all over the world. Nobody chooses to flee their home. Seeking safety is a right, and it needs to be upheld for every person.”
In a statement to mark World Refugee Day, he said: “I’m here meeting people forced to flee their homes due to the war in Ukraine.
“People have shared stories about how the war has changed their lives – how they’ve lost everything and are deeply worried about their future. Over the years I’ve had the chance to meet refugees and asylum seekers from around the world – from Syria, Central America, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Ukraine.”
He continued: “In so many parts of the world, war and violence devastate people and leave lasting traumatic effects. Wherever and whenever it happens, nobody chooses to flee their home. Seeking safety is a right and it needs to be upheld for every person. Protecting people forced to flee is a collective global responsibility. We have to remember this could happen to anyone, anywhere.”
Stiller has been working as a goodwill ambassador for the UNHCR since 2016 and has previously met with refugees in Germany, Jordan, Guatemala and Lebanon.