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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

US actor Ben Stiller describes ‘shocking’ scenes in war-torn Ukraine

22.06.2022 23:45
Hollywood actor Ben Stiller this week visited Ukraine and spoke about “shocking” and “distressing” scenes he saw in the war-ravaged country.
Audio
Ben Stiller.
Ben Stiller.Photo: PAP/EPA

Stiller came to Ukraine in his capacity as goodwill ambassador for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

Meeting with Zelensky

On Monday, World Refugee Day, he met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.  

Stiller told Zelensky he was his hero and also complimented Ukraine’s head of state on his acting performances before becoming president.  

After visiting Ukraine, the Hollywood star, known for his roles in such films as Dodgeball, Tropic Thunder and There’s Something About Mary, shared his impressions with the British broadcaster BBC.

‘Shocking, distressing’ scenes

“It's my first time coming to an area that's in conflict,” Stiller said in an interview with BBC Breakfast on Tuesday.

Stiller added: "But it's really strange because when you drive into the country, really in the west of the country, you don't feel the conflict, except for the curfew at night where it gets very quiet and a little bit eerie.

"[In] Lviv, people seem to be going back to life as normal, trying to, as much as possible."

Stiller continued: "And then as you get closer and closer to Kyiv, into the east of the country, you start to see the roadblocks and see the destruction, which is really shocking when you haven't seen anything like that up close.

“I'm an actor, so the first thing I go to is like, 'Oh, it looks like a movie.' But the scale of it is even bigger and it's real, so that's really distressing."

‘These are just people like you and I’

Stiller went on to say: "The thing that gets me is these are just people like you and I who have been caught in a circumstance totally beyond their control.

"And nobody wants to flee from their home, nobody wants to have to go out into the world and have to start afresh, or even just trying to find a way to survive."

The Hollywood star also said: "These people are just living their lives: mothers, fathers, families, friends."

He told the BBC he had spoken to mothers who had been forced to escape the Russian shelling with their young kids.

"One mother of two twins, who had to grab her kids and run for shelter, not even knowing where to go for shelter, they went to the basement and had to wait till the sound of the rockets had gone away and take a chance to come back up and grab their clothes and then not know where to even go for safety," he related.

Stiller added: "I mean, these kinds of stories, where you just try to place yourself in that situation, [and] think, 'What would happen if a rocket came screaming by my apartment?'"

At the end of the interview, Stiller called on everyone to help Ukrainians and not forget about people who are fighting and who have been forced to flee their homes and their country, the PAP news agency reported. 

Wednesday was day 119 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAPbbc.com

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Michał Owczarek.