As someone on the ground in Ukraine, Sean Penn has seen the effects of Russia’s invasion of the country up close. Over the weekend, he called upon the United States government to directly get involved in the fight.

“Ukraine is the tip of the spear for the democratic embrace of dreams,” the filmmaker and activist wrote on Twitter. “If we allow it to fight alone, our soul as America is lost.”

He also condemned the actions of Russia’s leadership while praising the strength and resilience of Ukraine. “Already a brutal mistake of lives taken and hearts broken, and if he doesn’t relent, I believe Mr. Putin will have made a most horrible mistake for all of humankind,” Penn wrote. “President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people have risen as historic symbols of courage and principle.”


Penn first came to Ukraine in November 2021 to make a film about Russian aggression against the country. After returning briefly to the US, he came back to the capital of Kyiv, where he has interviewed reporters, members of the military, and Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk for the project.

The United States’ primary response to the invasion of Ukraine has been to impose economic sanctions. Today (February 28th), the Treasury Department announced it would freeze Russian Central Bank assets that are held in the US and impose sanctions on a sovereign wealth fund headed by a close ally of Putin.

Negotiations between Ukraine and Russia have commenced in Belarus. Leading the Ukrainian delegation is the Minister of Defense, the head of Zelensky’s party faction in Parliament, and the deputy foreign minister of Ukraine, while Russia’s is headed by Vladimir R. Medinsky, an adviser to President Vladimir V. Putin.


However, Russia’s aggression shows no sign of slowing down. Ahead of the talks, Ukrainian officials accused Russia of shelling Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city.