Ukrainian President Zelenskyy Predicts Victory Over Russia After Sean Penn Introduces Him At Golden Globes

The Oscars declined to give a platform to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last year, but the Golden Globes made up for it Tuesday, offering him an opportunity to speak directly to an American and world audience.

In taped remarks introduced by Sean Penn, the Ukrainian leader expressed optimism about his country’s efforts to repel the invasion by Russia, which began last February.

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“The war in Ukraine is not over yet, but the tide is turning and it is already clear who will win,” Zelenskyy said, while adding a note of caution. “There are still battles and tears ahead.”

China, Iran and North Korea have given material support to Russia’s invasion. Ukraine, meanwhile, has received billions of dollars in aid and weaponry from the U.S. and other Western countries, but Zelenskyy said the conflict shouldn’t be perceived as another World War.

“There will be no Third World War. It is not a trilogy,” Zelenskyy insisted. “Ukraine will stop the Russian aggression on our land. We will make it together with a whole, free world. And I hope that all of you will be with us on the victorious day, the day of our victory. Slava Ukraini [Glory to Ukraine].”

In his introduction, Penn saluted the women of Iran who have led a major protest against the Islamic Republic’s regime that erupted after the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for violating Iran’s laws that control how women dress. Penn also praised the women of Afghanistan for resisting efforts by the Taliban to deprive them of liberty and access to education.

“We are reminded in no uncertain terms that the freedom to dream is not simply a human luxury, but rather a human need that must be fought and sacrificed for,” Penn said in solemn tones, his voice appearing to quaver.

Penn has visited Ukraine several times since the war began, and in November handed one of his two Oscars to Zelenskyy while in Kyiv. On that occasion, the actor said, “It’s just a symbolic silly thing, but if I know this is here then I’ll feel better and strong enough for the fights. When you win, bring it back to Malibu, because I’ll feel much better knowing there’s a piece of me here.”

In his intro to Zelenskyy tonight, Penn noted, “If the freedom to dream were a spear, I proudly present a human being who tonight represents that spear’s most honed tip.”

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