Live Updates: Ukraine-Russia War – The New York Times

KYIV, Ukraine — He has spoken with two film stars by video name from the bombarded and encircled metropolis of Kyiv.

His aides lobbied the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences for an Oscar night time present of assist. He rereleased his personal tv present on Netflix in the midst of the battle.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, the actor turned wartime chief of Ukraine, has devoted most of his public appearances to appeals to Western nations for deadly weaponry to combat the Russians: tanks, jets and missiles.

However Mr. Zelensky, who earlier than he turned president had starred in romantic comedies and carried out stand-up routines, has additionally pressed for celebrities and artists to talk up for his nation, in what aides say is a worthwhile effort to solidify Ukraine’s world smooth energy benefit over Russia.

“We dwell within the trendy world, and we all know that opinion makers and celebrities are vital,” stated Ekaterine Zguladze, a former deputy minister of inside now concerned within the Ukrainian authorities’s effort to win assist from artists, musicians and celebrities. “Not solely politicians form the world.”

Ms. Zguladze added: “Proper now, there exists real solidarity all over the world for Ukraine. And this solidarity shouldn’t be due to the heartbreaking photographs of destroyed cities and human tragedy, however due to the values all of us share.”

However Ukraine’s enchantment to the academy, the group that awards the Oscars, encountered drama of its personal.

Earlier than the present, organizers stated the battle could be famous and the human toll honored, however didn’t decide to a video look by Mr. Zelensky, stated Brian Keith Etheridge, a sitcom author primarily based in Los Angeles. He helped coordinate the Ukrainian authorities’s outreach to the academy, with assist from Mila Kunis, an actress of Ukrainian origin, and her husband, Ashton Kutcher.

“The priority that we had been instructed is, they don’t need to overly politicize the present,” Mr. Etheridge stated. “If Zelensky simply says ‘thanks’ it would remind individuals, and it might increase tens of millions of {dollars}. It’s such a large platform simply to have his face present up.”

Credit score…Angelos Tzortzinis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Pictures

Sean Penn, who had been filming a documentary in Ukraine when the battle broke out, referred to as for a boycott of the Oscars if Mr. Zelensky shouldn’t be permitted to look by video and vowed to smelt his personal awards if the academy snubs the Ukrainian chief. The award statues are made from gold-plated bronze.

If the Oscar producers didn’t enable an look for “the management in Ukraine, who’re taking bullets and bombs for us, together with the Ukrainian kids that they’re attempting to guard, then I believe each single a type of individuals, and each little bit of that call, can have been essentially the most obscene second in all of Hollywood historical past,” Mr. Penn instructed CNN in an interview.

Talking at a information convention on Thursday, the producers stated they supposed to commemorate the battle’s toll however didn’t decide to a video look by Mr. Zelensky.

“We’re going to be very considerate about how we acknowledge the place we’re on the earth,” Will Packer, a producer of the Oscar ceremony, stated Thursday at a information convention.

Credit score…Ruth Fremson/The New York Occasions

The comedic actress Wanda Sykes, one of many ceremony’s co-hosts, famous of Mr. Zelensky, “Isn’t he busy proper now?”

Mr. Zelensky didn’t seem on the present. Ms. Kunis did converse in regards to the battle when she appeared on the telecast to introduce a Reba McEntire efficiency of her track from Ms. Kunis’s film “4 Good Days.”

Earlier than turning the present over to Ms. McEntire, Ms. Kunis stated, “latest world occasions have left many people feeling gutted.”

“But if you witness the energy and dignity of these dealing with such devastation, it’s not possible to not be moved by their resilience,” Ms. Kunis continued. “One can not assist however be in awe of those that discover energy to maintain preventing by means of unimaginable darkness.”

The present additionally displayed three screens of gold textual content on black backgrounds after Ms. McEntire’s efficiency, calling on viewers to donate to the humanitarian effort.

“Whereas movie is a crucial avenue for us to specific our humanity in occasions of battle, the fact is tens of millions of households in Ukraine want meals, medical care, clear water and emergency providers,” the message learn. “Sources are scarce, and we — collectively and as a worldwide neighborhood — can do extra.”

Whereas Mr. Zelensky’s aides had pressed for assist through the present in no matter kind it takes, in search of any avenue to win public backing within the West, the worth of celeb assist in a taking pictures battle shouldn’t be universally acknowledged in Ukraine.

“In the end, it’s vital what is occurring on the bottom,” Oleksandr Danylyuk, a former secretary of Ukraine’s Nationwide Safety and Protection Council, stated. “All people is doing what they’ll. I don’t know if yet another speech of Zelensky will make a distinction. However it’s good those that provoke it need to do it. All people desires to assist in any means attainable.”

However Mr. Danylyuk stated that “ultimately, you want outcomes,” like provides of fighter jets, tanks or missiles for the Ukrainian Military.

Mr. Zelensky has pressed on all fronts to convey to a broad viewers, and significantly to nations which might be offering weaponry, the ethical crucial of supporting Ukraine within the battle.

Credit score…Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Occasions

“Typically, Zelensky is actually following the information from Hollywood and searching for alternatives for assist,” Serhiy Leshchenko, an adviser to the president’s chief of employees, stated in an interview.

The push for backing for Ukraine through the Oscars started per week in the past, after Mr. Zelensky spoke on a video name from Kyiv with Mr. Kutcher and Ms. Kunis, to thank the couple for elevating $35 million for Ukrainian refugees and humanitarian help in a GoFundMe marketing campaign, Mr. Leshchenko stated.

Ms. Kunis most just lately starred in “Breaking Information in Yuba County” and has a deliberate film launch by Netflix, “Luckiest Woman Alive.”

“Ukrainians are proud and courageous individuals who deserve our assist in their time of want,” she wrote within the fund-raising enchantment. “This unjust assault on Ukraine and humanity at massive is devastating and the Ukrainian individuals want our assist.”

After the video name, Mr. Zelensky’s aides sought a last-minute slot on the Oscar ceremony.

Mr. Zelensky has at all times had a eager sense of picture and storytelling in politics. Earlier this month, he stated he was conscious that his repeated televised appeals for resistance, and continued presence within the beleaguered capital, had turned him into a logo of bravery in lots of nations.

Credit score…Lynsey Addario for The New York Occasions

The Oscars are additionally a pure match for an enchantment by his authorities for humanitarian help, as lots of his prime aides are additionally film business veterans.

The chief of the presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, was a media lawyer and film producer. The top of the home intelligence company, Ivan Bakanov, had been the director of the Kvartal 95 studio. A chief presidential adviser, Serhiy Shefir, was a screenwriter and producer whose main credit included successful romantic comedy movie, “Eight First Dates,” and a tv sequence, “The In-laws.”

Earlier than turning into president of Ukraine, Mr. Zelensky performed a president in his personal tv sequence, “Servant of the Folks,” which was rereleased on Netflix this month. The character, a instructor, is propelled to the presidency after he goes on a tirade towards corruption, which is filmed by his college students in a video that goes viral.

Maria Varenikova contributed reporting from Kyiv, and Matt Stevens from New York.

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