Angelina Jolie makes a surprise trip to Ukraine to visit children and refugees 2022-04-30 15:07:52


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There was nothing special about Maya Bedoritska’s day as she was having coffee at a local café in Lviv, Ukraine. That changed when actress and director Angelina Jolie made a surprise trip to the western Ukrainian city on Saturday in support of Ukraine, more than two months after the Russian invasion, she said.

She wrote, “I just went for coffee.” Facebook With a video of what happened. She jokingly wrote, “Just Angelina Jolie.”

A video posted on social media shows Jolie, an Academy Award winner and UN Special Envoy for Refugees since 2012, autographing a fan in the city, which was a relatively safe haven during the Russian invasion. After welcoming displaced Ukrainians who arrived on an evacuation train from a city in Donetsk region, Jolie spent time visiting children and volunteers at a medical facility, the governor of the Lviv region, Maxim Kosietsky, wrote in cable.

“For all of us, this visit was a surprise,” Kozetsky wrote. “Many people who saw Mrs. Jolie in the Lviv region did not believe that she really was.”

Jung Ah Gidini Williams, a spokeswoman for the UNHCR office, told The Washington Post in an email that Jolie was not in Lviv to do business for the organization.

“Angelina Jolie is traveling to the region in her personal capacity, and UNHCR has no role in this visit,” Gidney Williams wrote.

Jolie’s representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday. Actress spokesperson NBC News Jolie, who praised the country’s “resilience, courage and dignity,” was in Ukraine “to bear witness to the humanitarian impact of the conflict, and to support the civilian population.”

“The impact of the war on a generation of Ukrainian children is devastating,” Jolie said in a statement to NBC. “No child anywhere should have to flee their homes, witness the killing of their loved ones, or experience the bombing and destruction of their homes. However, this is the reality of many children in Ukraine and around the world.”

Her visit to Lviv unfolded on a day when the Ukrainian military asserted that Russian forces had “unsuccessful” in their plans to quickly seize vast swathes of territory in the east. But there were still new missile strikes across the country, with Ukrainian commanders in the Black Sea port of Odessa reporting that a runway at the city’s airport had been hit and was no longer operational. Russian Ministry of Defense She said It hit 17 Ukrainian military installations on Saturday, killing more than 200 Ukrainians. Ukrainian leaders did not immediately respond.

The 46-year-old has drawn attention to other humanitarian crises, having previously visited Mosul, Iraq in 2011 and Yemen just last month. She visited young Ukrainian refugees last month at a children’s hospital in Rome.

Jolie has expressed support for Ukraine since before the war. I confirmed Instagram That “children will pay the highest price” during the Russian invasion.

“Like many of you, I am praying for the people of Ukraine,” she wrote in February. “My focus with my colleagues at @refugees is that everything possible is being done to ensure the protection and basic human rights of the displaced and refugees in the region.”

She is not the first celebrity to go to Ukraine during the conflict. Actor and activist Sean Ben He was on the ground in Ukraine filming a documentary about the invasion in late February. Benn denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin for what the American director called “the most terrible mistake of all mankind”.

groupSubjected only to sporadic Russian attacks, it became a haven for civilians, diplomats, journalists and aid groups due to its relative safety and proximity to the Polish border. But the city faced its own tragedy during the invasion. It was at least seven people killing During Russian airstrikes earlier this month, according to Kozytskyi and Ukrainian officials.

At one point in her video clip in the cafe, Bedoritska shows a cup being served at the establishment where Julie stopped. The cup features a Molotov cocktail and a quote from Ukrainian poet Ivan Franko: “Truth – Service / Lie – Burn.”

During her meeting at the medical facility, photos published by Kozytskyi show that Jolie spends time with children in a boarding school and volunteers at the medical institution. One of the videos shows her playing with a little girl.

“I was very moved by their stories,” Kozetsky said.

Pedoretska, a native of Kyiv, summed up her sense of pride in her country after seeing Julie come to greet those whose lives had been turned upside down.

“Ukraine is simply supported by the whole world,” said Bedoritska.

Hana Allam and David L. Stern contributed to this report.