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'You are my hero': Ben Stiller meets Volodymyr Zelensky during Ukraine visit 

The actor and director visited Ukraine as a United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Ambassador

Ben Stiller visits Ukraine
Ben Stiller visits Ukraine | @AndriyYermak

June 21, 2022 4:59pm

Updated: June 21, 2022 6:08pm

Ben Stiller met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Monday, which marked World Refugee Day.

The actor and director visited Ukraine as a United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Ambassador. He toured the occupied settlements in the Kyiv region and met with the country’s president.

In a video shared on Twitter, Stiller and Zelensky greet each other before sitting down to discuss the refugee crisis that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has generated.

“You’re my hero!” Stiller told Ukraine’s president during the visit. "What you've done, the way that you've rallied the country, the world, it's really inspiring." 

Throughout his trip, the "Zoolander" actor was accompanied by UNHCR representative Ukraine Karolina Lindholm Billing. Together they walked through destroyed residential areas in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, and talked to people who witnessed the destruction caused by Russian attacks on the city.

"The stories of the people who experienced the first few days of this war -- speaking to them and hearing these really harrowing stories -- was very affecting," Stiller said.

“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,” Stiller told Zelensky.

“What you saw in Irpin is definitely dreadful. But it is even worse to just imagine what is happening in the settlements that are still under temporary occupation in the east,” Zelensky said in response.

Zelensky and Stiller discussed how to support those who have been displaced during the war. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February, more than one million Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homes and their war-torn country.

“War and violence are devastating people all over the world. Nobody chooses to flee their home. Seeking safety is a right. And it needs to be upheld for every person,” said the actor in a video shared by the UNHRC.

Stiller also met with U.S. Ambassador Bridget A. Brink in Lviv. The ambassador tweeted that the actor's visit brought “much-needed attention to humanitarian needs during the largest and fastest humanitarian crisis in recent memory.”