Orlando Bloom has praised the strength of the Ukrainian people as he met the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and encouraged him to “go win” the war.
The British actor, 46, who is a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador, travelled to Kyiv in his first visit back to Ukraine since 2016.
In the meeting, Bloom told Mr Zelensky it is “remarkable to see how you are holding this country” and said it was a “real honour” to meet the Ukrainian president.
He said: “(It is) so encouraging in so many ways to see just the remarkably stoic nature of the people of Ukraine. And of course, your messaging that I think is reflected in their courage, and in their determination and in their perseverance and resilience.
“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.”
Mr Zelensky told Bloom “we have a good country, we hold each other”, adding “your coming sends a big message”.
Bloom described meeting a family-of-five who took four more children into their home, saying “hopefully that is the kind of future for children in this country” instead of “institutionalised” methods of raising children.
The Pirates Of The Caribbean actor also reassured the leader that Unicef is taking the issue of missing children “incredibly seriously, just as the rest of the world is watching”.
Bloom, who has been a member of a Buddhist organisation since he was 16, read an excerpt of a message of encouragement from his Japanese mentor who wrote to the youth of the UK in 1994.
He said: “I wanted to read it because I feel it’s so important and I had it written for you as well to read along.”
After reading the piece, he said: “You have a strong heart and thank you for everything you do. I used to read this every day… I used to read it when I was a child just to try and give myself the courage.”
At the end of the meeting, Bloom said he has a video of his mother singing the Ukrainian national anthem in English and she said if he met Mr Zelensky to tell him to win. “Go win” he said, “Slava Ukraine”
Bloom shared a video of the meeting on Instagram, captioning the post: “The war is destroying the childhood of Ukrainian children.
“Thousands of schools in Ukraine have been damaged or completely destroyed. 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.
“We all know what this aggression has brought and how full-scale the world’s efforts must be to stop it, to rebuild Ukraine after the war.
“During the meeting, we discussed humanitarian aid projects, 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.”