Hollywood star Sean Penn gifted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky one of his two Oscar awards as a symbol of strength during his third visit to Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion.

The 62-year-old actor-director asked Zelensky to hold onto the statuette until the end of the war — and hopeful Ukrainian victory.

“It’s just a symbolic silly thing, but if I know this is here with you then I’ll feel better and stronger for the fights,” Penn said in a video shared by Zelensky’s office. “When you win, bring it back to Malibu.”

“We have to win,” Zelensky replied after initially refusing Penn’s Academy Award.

“Sean brought his Oscar statuette as a symbol of faith in the victory of our country,” Zelensky wrote in a post after the exchange. “It will be in Ukraine until the end of the war.”

Sean Penn gifted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky one of his two Oscar awards as a symbol of strength on Nov. 8, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Sean Penn gifted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky one of his two Oscar awards as a symbol of strength on Nov. 8, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine.

President Zelensky said the Oscar Sean gifted him will be in Ukraine until the end of the war.
President Zelensky said the Oscar Sean gifted him will be in Ukraine until the end of the war.

The Ukrainian president presented Penn with a new award at the same meeting. The country awarded the actor with the Order of Merit of the III degree for his support of Ukraine.

He also added the actor’s name to the “Walk of the Brave” in Kyiv, which honors leaders and representatives from other countries that have significantly supported Ukraine.

Penn last visited the war-torn country and met Zelensky in June. Prior to that visit, Penn was inside Ukraine on the day Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24 shooting footage for his documentary on the unfolding crisis that he had already been working on.

Hollywood actor and film director Sean Penn and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky pose together Kyiv, Ukraine on Nov. 8, 2022.
Hollywood actor and film director Sean Penn and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky pose together Kyiv, Ukraine on Nov. 8, 2022.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

He was one of thousands who fled to Poland on foot when Russian missiles started crashing down on Ukrainian cities.

The “Milk” star is producing the untitled documentary about the war for VICE studios.

Last November, Penn donned a flak jacket and helmet and spoke to fighters on the border of Russia and Ukraine, months before the war officially began.

Sean Penn gives Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky a hug after they meet on Nov. 8, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Sean Penn gives Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky a hug after they meet on Nov. 8, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

He has also hosted fundraisers to support Ukraine through his CORE charity.

In April, Penn said he’d even considered taking up arms against Moscow.

Five months later, the Kremlin banned Penn along with fellow actor Ben Stiller, who is another vocal critic of Russia’s war in Ukraine, from entering Russia.

Penn has won two Oscars, both for Best Actor, during his career — the first in 2003 for the film “Mystic River” and the second in 2008 for “Milk.” It’s unclear which he gave to Zelensky.



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