Orlando Bloom made the trip to the capital of Ukraine over the past weekend, meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky at the presidential palace. “(It is) so encouraging in so many ways to see just the remarkably stoic nature of the people of Ukraine,” Bloom, 46, told Zelensky, 45, per The Independent, after touring the war-torn country. “And of course, your messaging that I think is reflected in their courage, and in their determination and in their perseverance and resilience.”
As a UNICEF Ambassador, Bloom spoke about how the Russian invasion affected the country’s youth. “To see the children, to see in their eyes, it’s palpable the anxiety and yet, the strength of the Ukrainian people is something that is really awe-inspiring in truth and, of course, your messaging is the reason for that,” said the Pirates of the Caribbean actor.
The actor spoke about meeting a family of five who took four more children into their home. “Hopefully, that is the kind of future for children in this country” instead of “institutionalized” methods of raising children, he said. Bloom also reassured Zelensky that UNICEF is taking the issue of missing children “incredibly seriously, just as the rest of the world is watching.”
Zelensky shared a video of the meeting shortly afterward. “Thousands of schools in Ukraine have been damaged or completely destroyed,” wrote the Ukrainian president. “Almost 2.7 million Ukrainian schoolchildren are forced to study online or in a mixed format. About 1.5 million Ukrainian boys and girls are at risk of developing depression, anxiety, and other psychological problems. … During the meeting, we discussed humanitarian aid projects and issues of reconstruction focused specifically on the interests of children. @unicef and our teams will work in several directions, bring victory closer and return a happy childhood to Ukrainian children.”
“I arrived in Ukraine today for my first trip back since 2016,” Bloom captioned a Mar. 25 Instagram post. “I would have never expected the war to have escalated throughout the country since I was there. But today, I was fortunate to hear children’s laughter at a @UNICEF-supported Spilno center, a safe, warm, and nurturing space for children to play, learn and receive psychosocial support. Spilno means ‘together’ in Ukrainian, and there are over 180 of these centers here. The one I visited today was built deep down in the metro to ensure their safety.”
On Mar. 17, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for an alleged scheme to deport Ukrainian children to Russia, per CNN. The court said there were “reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin bears individual criminal responsibility” for the alleged deportations, for having committed them alongside others, and for a “failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts.” The Kremlin called the accusations “outrageous and unacceptable.”