Hayden Panettiere, 32, gave an emotional call for support for Ukrainians as the country’s battle with Russia rages on. The actress announced that she’d started a new organization called Hoplon International to help raise money for Ukrainians fighting against Russian forces. The actress said that it was “gut-wrenching” to watch people that she loves going to war to defend their country.
The actress described how heartbreaking it has been to see the country undergo such a terrible attack from Russia. “There are no words to describe what it’s been like to watch the war in Ukraine unfold. It’s gut-wrenching knowing that the people of Ukraine, the people that I call my friends and family are desperately trying to defend their way of life and the country that they love,” she said.
Hoplon, which is named for an ancient Greek shield, will provide supplies to “Outnumbered, outgunned, and largely civilian forces” in Ukraine, as they against Russia. Hayden implored fans to do what they can to help. “I can’t continue to sit on the sidelines just watching this disaster unfold. Please don’t sit by idly. Help me by donating any amount that you can. Together we can make a difference in their fight,” she said.
Included in those loved ones that Hayden is sending support to seems to include her ex-boyfriend Wladimir Klitschko, who has been fighting on the frontlines to defend Ukraine. In wake of Russia’s initial attacks, Hayden showed support for Wladimir in a lengthy Instagram post showing solidarity for Ukraine. “I have personally witnessed the strength of the Ukrainian people who fought so hard for their independence and have continued to passionately defend their country over the years,” she wrote. “I’m praying for my family and friends there and everyone who’s fighting. I wish you had more support and I wish I was there fighting with you!”
Hayden isn’t the only star who’s helped raise money for Ukraine since the Russian invasion. Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher launched a fund to provide supplies and housing to refugees, who’ve been forced to evacuate their home, and they’ve donated $3 million of their own money to the cause. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds also announced that they’d match donations up to $1 million. Gigi Hadid also announced that she’d be donating all of her earnings from Paris Fashion Week to aiding Ukrainian and Palestinian relief.