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Orlando Bloom meets Volodymyr Zelensky during humanitarian trip in Ukraine

 (@zelenskiy_official via REUTERS)
(@zelenskiy_official via REUTERS)

Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and British actor Orlando Bloom met with President Volodymyr Zelensky to promote the organisation’s humanitarian work in Ukraine.

During the meeting, Mr Bloom said he was “impressed” by the courage and resilience of Ukrainians. Meanwhile, Mr Zelensky welcomed the work of Unicef, saying the safety of children and their development remains a priority of his government.

Mr Bloom also visited a children’s centre and bomb shelters in Kyiv where, he said, the mental anguish was “palpable”.

“To see the children, to see in their eyes, the anxiety... and yet the strength of the Ukrainian people is something that is really awe-inspiring,” Mr Bloom told Mr Zelensky during a sit-down meeting in one of the president’s safe rooms.

“It’s so horrific what’s going on.”

 (PA)
(PA)

“I would have never expected the war to have escalated throughout the country since I was there,” Bloom later said on Instagram.

“But today, I was fortunate to hear children’s laughter at a Unicef-supported Spilno centre, a safe, warm, and nurturing space for children to play, learn and receive psychosocial support.”

The Spilno centres, spread throughout Ukraine, offer support for displaced children and their families, with more than half a million children and their caregivers having visited one in the past year, according to Unicef.

 (PA)
(PA)

After praising Mr Zelensky’s leadership, Mr Bloom left him with a gift from his Buddhist mentor – a message of encouragement previously delivered to UK children – as well as a message from his own mother:

“Your defeat would be the defeat of hope, hence you must win,” he told the president.

At least 465 children have been killed since the Russian invasion 13 months ago, according to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office.

“He knows what this aggression has brought, how full-scale the world’s efforts must be to stop it, to restore Ukraine after the war,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address after meeting the Hollywood star.

Mr Bloom said it was his first trip to Ukraine since 2016.