Angelina Jolie 'humbled to witness resilience of Ukrainian people' as she makes humanitarian visit

  • ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry on Angelina Jolie's 'fact-finding mission'

Angelina Jolie said she is "humbled to witness the resilience of the Ukrainian people" as she made a humanitarian visit to the city of Lviv and met children who had been injured and affected by the war.

Jolie's spokesperson said the visit was "private humanitarian fact-finding mission focused on the needs of children".

She visited a hospital where children suffering blast injuries are receiving treatment and a centre for children and young people with disabilities.

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The Hollywood actress also met orphaned and displaced children, including those evacuated from Mariupol, and Ukrainian volunteers and doctors caring for them, as well as NGOs helping the injured and displaced.

She shared lunch with refugees at a railway station in Lviv and made a short speech in which she said: "I'm really honoured to be with all of you, and I'm sorry you're going through so much and your country is going through so much, and you're all very brave and very strong and my heart is with you. I'm sending my love, and thank you for allowing me to be with you."

Jolie, who has worked as a special envoy for the United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency for many years, is calling for the urgent opening of humanitarian corridors so civilians can be safely evacuated and for humanitarian relief to be delivered to those in need, particularly children.

Her spokesperson said Jolie is pressing for the international community to "seize this moment of compassion and solidarity with Ukrainian people and to recognise the needs and suffering of refugees and displaced people everywhere".

"Children from Ukraine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, South Sudan and countless other nations deserve humanitarian support to more fully meet their needs," the spokesperson added.

Speaking during the visit, Angelina said: "I’m humbled to witness the resilience and courageand dignity of the Ukrainian people in the face of the terror and trauma of a war they did notchoose.

"The impact the war is having on a generation of Ukrainian children is devastating tosee. No child anywhere should have to flee their homes, or witness the murder of their lovedones, or experience shelling and the destruction of their homes.

"Yet that is the reality of so many children in Ukraine and around the world. There are well over 84 million people displaced globally at this moment, over half of them children, who also must not be forgotten.

"The outpouring of support for the Ukrainian people globally is an opportunity to recommit to the right to security and equality of all people, and to building a stronger United Nations that is better equipped to prevent conflict and uphold basic human rights, whether in Ukraine or in any other part of the world”.

Angelina Jolie and UNHCR goodwill ambassador in Lviv, Ukraine. Credit: AP

Her visit comes days UN Secretary General António Guterres publicly met with President Zelenskyy in the capital Kyiv.

Gueterres held a press conference with the Ukrainian president in which he said Ukraine has become “an epicentre of unbearable heartache and pain.”In a video shared on Facebook, the actor can be seen smiling and waving at fans as she ordered a coffee in Lviv. The video, which shows Jolie signing a piece of paper and waving to the camera, was posted on Facebook by Ukrainian Maya Pidhorodetska and has since had more than 19,000 shares. Ms Pidhorodetska wrote a post with the video in Ukrainian which, translated by Google, said: “Nothing special. Just Lviv. I just went to have coffee. Just Angelina Jolie. “Ukraine is simply supported by the whole world.”

Lviv, in western Ukraine, has been under attack from the Russian army in recent weeks and earlier this month, a missile attack on the city left at least seven people dead. In February, Jolie spoke about the war in Ukraine in a post to her 12.7 million Instagram followers. She wrote: “Like many of you, I’m praying for the people in Ukraine. “My focus along with my @refugees colleagues is that everything possible is done to ensure the protection and basic human rights of those displaced, and refugees in the region. “We have already seen reports of casualties and people starting to flee their homes to seek safety. “It is too soon to know what will happen, but the significance of this moment – for the people of Ukraine, and for the international rule of law – cannot be overstated.”