“Like many of you, I’m praying for the people in Ukraine,” wrote Angelina Jolie at the start of the statement she posted to Instagram on Thursday (Feb. 24). Angelina, 46, said that as a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, her focus “along with my UNHCR colleagues is that everything possible is [being] done to ensure the protection and basic human rights of those displaced, and refugees in the region. We have already seen reports of casualties and people starting to flee their homes to seek safety.”
“It is too soon to know what will happen,” added Jolie, “but the significance of this moment – for the people of Ukraine and for the international rule of law – cannot be overstated.” The actress and activist also shared a link to the UNHCR’s statement on the Russian invasion. “We are gravely concerned about the fast-deteriorating situation and ongoing military action in Ukraine,” wrote the UNHCR’s Filippo Grandi. “The humanitarian consequences on civilian populations will be devastating. There are no winners in war, but countless lives will be torn apart.”
“We have already seen reports of casualties and people starting to flee their homes to seek safety. Civilian lives and civilian infrastructure must be protected and safeguarded at all times, in line with International Humanitarian Law,” the statement said. The UNHCR said it’s working with authorities, the UN, and other partners to provide “humanitarian assistance wherever necessary and possible,” and that they’ve “stepped up our operations and capacity in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.”
The Russian attack on Ukraine was condemned worldwide, including in Russia. Thousands of anti-war protestors gathered on the main street of St. Petersburgh, according to Al Jazeera. Hundreds of protestors were arrested by Russian authorities. President Joe Biden condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine, saying that the Russian military began “a brutal assault on the people of Ukraine without provocation, without justification, without necessity. This is a premeditated attack.” Biden said he was imposing new economic sanctions on Russia for this act of aggression.
“The Ukrainian people have known 30 years of independence, and they’ve repeatedly shown that they will not tolerate anyone who tries to take their country backward,” said Biden. “Now, the entire world sees clearly what [Putin] and his Kremlin allies are really all about.”