Actor Orlando Bloom has praised the “incredible stoic nature” of the Ukrainian people in a visit to Kyiv.
The 46-year-old Briton, who is a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, met with President Volodymr Zelensky and said he was rooting for him to “go win the war”.
“[It is] so encouraging in so many ways to see just the remarkably stoic nature of the people of Ukraine. And of course, your messaging that I think is reflected in their courage, and in their determination and in their perseverance and resilience,” said Bloom.
“To see the children, to see in their eyes, it’s palpable the anxiety and yet, the strength of the Ukrainian people is something that is really awe-inspiring in truth and, of course, your messaging is the reason for that.”
He told Mr Zelensky that Unicef took the issue of missing children in Ukraine “incredibly seriously” and that “the rest of the world was watching”. Ukraine believes that at least 16,000 Ukrainian children have been deported to Russia and illegally adopted, and that the number could be up to 738,000. At least 465 children are thought to have been killed in the war so far.
Mr Zelensky said that Bloom’s visit on Sunday “sends a big message” to the people of Ukraine, adding that “we have a good country, we hold each other”.
In an Instagram post, Bloom – who has been a Buddhist since he was 16 – said that he and Mr Zelensky discussed humanitarian aid projects and “reconstruction focused on the aid of children”,
“Go win,” he told Mr Zelensky at the end of the meeting. “Slava Ukraine.”
Reflecting on his meeting with the Lord of the Rings star, Mr Zelensky said that “He knows what this aggression has brought, how full-scale the world’s efforts must be to stop it, to restore Ukraine after the war.”
Bloom is the latest Hollywood celebrity to have offered his backing to Ukraine, with Angelina Jolie, Leonardo DeCaprio and Gigi Hadid all offering praise and support for the Ukrainian people and their president.
The use of celebrity influence has proved to be remarkably successful in rallying public support and aid.
Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, Hollywood actress and singer Barbra Streisand, astronaut Scott Kelly and rock band Imagine Dragons have all become ambassadors for United24, a fundraising platform launched by Mr Zelensky last year, which has raised more than $300m (£245m) so far.