Meeting his hero. Ben Stiller got the opportunity to meet with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday — which is also World Refugee Day — and the actor and filmmaker was thrilled to meet the world leader.
Stiller — in his role as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees — traveled to Kyiv after meeting with Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Poland amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The “Severance” director spent the day visiting survivors in occupied settlements in the devastated residential area of Irpin, alongside UNHCR representative in Ukraine Karolina Lindholm Billing, according to a release from President Zelenskyy’s official website.
A video of their meeting was shared to Twitter, and Stiller was seemingly starstruck when shaking hands with Zelenskyy.
“It’s really nice to meet you, thanks for taking the time,” Stiller marvels. “It’s a great honour for me, it’s really wonderful. You’re my hero.”
📽️ Volodymyr Zelenskyy pic.twitter.com/QYZFOfebqz
— UkraineWorld (@ukraine_world) June 20, 2022
During their conversation, Stiller expresses the impossible level of devastation that he’s witnessed during his brief visit, sharing, “It’s one thing to see this destruction on TV or on social networks. Another thing is to see it all with your own eyes. That’s a lot more shocking.”
“What you saw in Irpin is definitely dreadful,” Zelenskyy explains. “But it is even worse to just imagine what is happening in the settlements that are still under temporary occupation in the east.”
Zelenskyy also explained that it’s “very important, for us, that people don’t forget. It’s not ‘interesting’ to speak about the way every day… but for us it’s very important. When people forget to speak about it… it’s very difficult.”
With Stiller’s visit, he joins a host of celebrities who have stepped up and been outspoken in their support for the people of Ukraine after Russian military forces invaded the country on Feb. 22, taking innocent lives and leaving millions to flee their homes.
Last month, U2’s Bono and The Edge held a very special concert in a subway station in Kyiv which serves as a bomb shelter. And in the months since the war began, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Lee Curtis, Benedict Cumberbatch and many more, have all used their platform to help in any way possible, including raising money and awareness, and even, taking in families who have been forced to flee the war-torn country.
In April, the Doctor Strange actor opened up about his plans to do just that.
“They’ve made it out of Ukraine. I’m monitoring their progress every day,” Cumberbatch told British news outlet The Sky. “Sadly, they are undergoing some medical treatment. To say anything more about that would be invasion of their privacy, and too much about when they’re coming and how that’s being managed would invade mine.”
To see how other celebrities are showing their support for Ukraine, watch the video below.