When you talk about Ukraine, the world listens.
You are famous. When you talk about freedom against tyranny, your voices resonate like everyone else’s. When you show the public the horror that is happening to Ukraine, you rally the world to act against it. As Ukrainians, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Your support for my country has been – and will continue to be – crucial to ensuring that the public sees the atrocities that Russians commit daily against Ukrainian citizens, children among them. You’ve seen Bocha, you’ve seen Mariupol, and you’ve now seen the carnage of the twenty-first century in Europe. This massacre turned Ukraine’s glorious historical cities into piles of rubble and its churches into mass graves. People see these pictures and feel the pain that Ukrainians feel. But as the war rages on, the media begins to pay less attention, and networks slow their coverage of Ukraine, the global audience will lose access to the brutal reality of the war. The lives of many around the world will go on.
But we will continue to fight. Brave Ukrainians will risk their lives every day to save their citizens, their country, and their choice of freedom against the brutality of Putin will be determined to fulfill his twentieth-century fantasies to wipe an entire nation and its citizens off the map and from the future. But the Ukrainian soul cannot be erased, not only for Ukrainians but for the whole world. Your support for Ukraine guarantees this.
That’s why we implore you, world famous people, to keep doing what you’re doing. Especially over time. Please continue to draw attention to Ukraine so that American society and others around the world do not lose touch with the war that is being waged on a faraway continent. Although they may not see the carnage, they will know the terror and destruction that the Russians are sowing in Ukraine day in and day out.
It is not just to a distant audience that we are addressing to us. It’s for the Ukrainians, too. Your support and acknowledgment of our grief fills us with pride and motivates us to keep fighting. Putin believes that the United States and the West will lose interest in Ukraine soon. He is betting on this. But with your understanding and support, we will ensure that he loses this bet.
International celebrities have amplified and engaged all parts of Ukrainian society to help our country. Through its diverse channels and initiatives, it plays a crucial role. And your influence is not limited to public opinion. Celebrities influence US policy toward Ukraine – making it stronger and more powerful. Whether through social media posts, television appearances, or working with charitable organizations, government agencies, international organizations, corporations or grassroots organizations, it has helped integrate these sectors into a force multiplier in raising awareness and pressure for action and support for Ukraine.
The collective influence of celebrities shapes the narrative in Ukraine. You help ensure that the United States and Europe deliver weapons and humanitarian aid to Ukraine that save lives and bring Ukraine closer to victory every day.
When Russia unleashed its war, Sean Penn was in Ukraine filming a documentary about Ukraine. Just a day before the Russian invasion, he was sitting across from President Zelensky in the president’s office with all the formalities of a presidential visit. A day later, the world changed, and with it, Sean Penn’s mission in my country changed. We will never forget how he wanted to take up arms against Russia and fight with our Ukrainian soldiers, or that he threatened the son-in-law of the Oscars if President Zelensky was not invited to the Oscars. Sean Penn’s commitment to Ukraine continues to inspire a nation at war, as do all the celebrities who support Ukraine.
Arnold Schwarzenegger took to Twitter to speak directly to the Russian people after the Russian invasion. He pleaded with them to see the truth about Putin’s brutal and inexcusable war. Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher were also among the first to respond to our grief, raising millions to support refugees. John Legend raised the consciousness of the American people when he dedicated his song at the Grammy Awards to Ukraine, as did all those who performed at the Global Citizen event hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Commission President Ursula von der der. Leyen, including U2, Madonna, Alanis Morissette, Billie Eilish, Billy Joel, Chris Rock, Céline Dion, Hugh Jackman, Green Day, Demi Lovato, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Gloria Steinem, Jonas Brothers, Katy Perry And much more.
Designers like Demna Gvasalia made the fashion world aware of our freedom struggle. Bono and The Edge, fellow U2 band, performed at a Kyiv subway station on May 8 to those who had taken refuge underground for more than two months, with no end in sight. People will remember these shows and what they stand for – you -.
You are also deeply involved in supporting organizations working in the humanitarian field in Ukraine. Liev Schreiber and Angelina Jolie have visited Ukraine and have dedicated their time, personal energy and star power to bring attention to the life-saving work that these organizations are doing in Ukraine and for refugee communities across Europe. Benedict Cumberbatch hosts a refugee family. Very soon, Kimbal Musk, Elon’s brother, will visit Ukraine to share through his eyes the plight of all Ukrainians.
I showed Ukraine to the world. It has helped move political debate in the United States, Europe, and across international organizations such as the United Nations. We are forever grateful to you for acting in so many unique and honest ways. Although Ukrainians are fighting for their country and compatriots, we also fight for all those who want freedom to live in a democratic world. You know this. You share this with the world when it is most needed.
Andriy Yermak is the head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine