Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke at a benefit organized by actor Sean Penn to aid the war-torn nation.
The Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) event at the Hollywood Palladium on Friday night included a million-dollar auction bid on a private John Legend performance, Variety reported.
Zelenskyy spoke to attendees via a pre-recorded video speech. He discussed "peaceful cities and villages wiped off the face of the earth" by Russian troops since President Vladimir Putin began his unprovoked war on Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Zelenskyy also described how Putin’s forces had destroyed "schools, hospitals, theaters, museums, entire streets, and neighborhoods."
"All of this is not the scenery of a blockbuster about the apocalypse," Zelenskyy said as a video showed devastation in Ukraine. "All of this is our reality."
Zelenskyy wore a green T-shirt and fatigues while sitting in front of a tactical map.
The former actor, who became Ukraine’s president in 2019, addressed the industry crowd as a peer.
"It’s not VFX, it’s not computer graphics. All of this is our reality," he said.
Zelenskyy mentioned how U.S. stars accepted plaster Oscars, instead of metal ones, during World War II to address the wartime metal shortages.
"It can fairly be said that this is a symbolic gesture that does not drastically affect the course of the war," he said.
"But we cannot claim that the world would have defeated Nazism without a piece of metal. No. We do not know for sure. That is why we know that any help is valuable and important."
Former President Bill Clinton, actor Sharon Stone, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti were among attendees at the dinner event, which also featured a performance by Legend playing Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" on piano, according to Variety.
CORE's website says the organization has had relief workers in Poland and Ukraine to aid Ukrainian refugees since the war broke out.
"CORE's efforts will continue to adapt to support refugees and those in need who remain inside Ukraine as their needs evolve throughout the humanitarian crisis," the organization's website says.
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