Ben Stiller talks about ‘distressing’ visit to war ravaged Ukraine

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Ben Stiller talks about ‘distressing’ visit to war ravaged Ukraine
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Ben Stiller has spoken about the horrors of visiting war-ravaged Ukraine describing the “distressing” scenes of destruction as bigger than any movie set.

The US actor met with President Zelensky and told him: “You are my hero” as he walked through the ruins of the city of Irpin where Russian forces have bombed residential buildings on World Refugee Day.

“It’s my first time coming to an area that’s in conflict,” the Zoolander star told the BBC.

“But it’s really strange because when you drive into the country, really in the west of the country, you don’t feel the conflict, except for the curfew at night where it gets very quiet and a little bit eerie. [In] Lviv, people seem to be going back to life as normal, trying to as much as possible.

“And then as you get closer and closer to Kyiv, into the east of the country, you start to see the roadblocks and see the destruction, which is really shocking when you haven’t seen anything like that up close.”

The 56-year-old actor made the visit in his role who as the Goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In the interview with BBC Breakfast on Tuesday, Stiller - who is known for films like There’s Something About Mary and Dodgeball - added: “I’m an actor, so the first thing I go to is like, ‘Oh, it looks like a movie’. But the scale of it is even bigger and it’s real, so that’s really distressing.”

Hollywood actor Stiller meets Ukraine's President Zelenskiy in Kyiv (via REUTERS)
Hollywood actor Stiller meets Ukraine's President Zelenskiy in Kyiv (via REUTERS)

He met with President Zelensky, himself a former actor, and the pair stressed the importance of continuing to shine a spotlight on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Sir, really nice to meet you. Thanks for taking the time. You’re my hero,” Stiller told Zelensky as he approached him and shook his hand.

The Hollywood star praised the President on his “great acting career”.

To which Zelensky laughed and replied: “Not as great as you”.

Stiller then told him that he was inspired by Zelensky, “for what you’ve done in this country and for the world”.

The Dodgeball actor spoke of his experiences meeting Ukrainians who recounted the horrors of the war.

He said: “One mother of two twins, who had to grab her kids and run for shelter, not even knowing where to go for shelter, they went to the basement and had to wait till the sound of the rockets had gone away and take a chance to come back up and grab their clothes and then not know where to even go for safety.

“I mean, these kinds of stories, where you just try to place yourself in that situation, [and] think, ‘What would happen if a rocket came screaming by my apartment?’”

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