What Los Angeles Is Saying About Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

We gathered a few prominent Angelenos’ thoughts on the ongoing conflict resulting from Russia’s military assault

Russia invaded Ukraine Wednesday night, in spite of global protests of their occupancy of the country’s borders. The first attacks took place across Ukraine’s major cities—including the capital, Kyiv—as CNN reported distant sounds of explosions and gunfire from where they were located.

Kyiv remains in active conflict, as Russian troops have begun to encircle the city through the alleged capture of Hostomel airfield. Ukrainian citizens and troops continue to resist the assault, following President Volodymyr Zelensky’s enactment of martial law in the country.

Protests broke out in Westwood and Studio City Thursday, as demonstrators—Ukrainians and Russians amongst them—sought to vocalize their distress with the ongoing invasion.

Numerous prominent Los Angeles figures have echoed the sentiments of the protestors and spoken out against Russia’s military assault of Ukraine.

Angelina Jolie, United Nations Ambassador and Los Angeles native, said she was “praying for the people in Ukraine” in a statement made Thursday on Instagram.

“We have already seen reports of casualties and people starting to flee their homes to seek safety,” Jolie, 46, said. “It is too soon to know what will happen, but the significance of this moment — for the people of Ukraine, and for the international rule of law — cannot be overstated.”

She also shared a link to the UNHCR’s statement, which says they are “working with governments in neighboring countries, calling on them to keep borders open to those seeking safety and protection. We stand ready to support efforts by all to respond to any situation of forced displacement.”

MayorOfLA, the official Twitter account for the 42nd Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, 51, shared his support for Ukrainians Thursday, addressing those currently dealing with the conflict in the country and in L.A.

Ashton Kutcher, 44—often recognized for being an activist outside his role as an actor—also voiced his support for Ukraine, the country where his now 38-year-old wife, Mila Kunis, was born.

Kunis was partially raised in Chernivtsi and moved to LA with her mother when she was 7-years-old. She previously mentioned antisemitism as a prominent reason for her family fleeing the then-Soviet Union.

One of the more significant actions against the conflict has come from Sean Penn, 61, a Santa Monica native, who is currently on the frontlines in Ukraine to film a documentary for Vice on the Russian invasion.

Since Penn’s arrival, he has visited the Office of the President and spoken with Iryna Vereschuk, deputy prime minister, as well as several journalists and members of the Ukrainian military.

Actor and director Sean Penn attended a Ukrainian government press briefing in Kyiv on Thursday, where he attended a Ukrainian government press briefing.

The Ukrainian government released a statement to Newsweek, expressing their appreciation of the American director’s presence.

“The director specially came to Kyiv to record all the events that are currently happening in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country. Sean Penn is among those who support Ukraine in Ukraine today. Our country is grateful to him for such a show of courage and honesty.”

They added that “Sean Penn is demonstrating bravery that many others have been lacking, in particular some Western politicians.”

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