Sean Penn, the actor-director who was in Ukraine filming a documentary about Russia’s invasion of the country two months ago, described how he and his crew escaped the war zone in Kyiv amid closing troops.
“What’s normally a seven-hour drive [from] city to city was, for us, a 25-hour drive, because…the Russians were engaged on the main road,” the Oscar winner recounted to Fox News in a discussion with anchor Bret Baier and former National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. “So we knew we had to go around that. And then the bridge we were going to go over got blown out. So, then we had to go around.”
A clip from Vice Studios depicted the moment when Penn received correspondence from O’Brien to flee the city. “I just heard from Robert O’Brien,” the “Gaslit” star was videotaped saying. “He said: “Get the f— out.”
O’Brien added that he received and relayed the information from on-the-ground teams from the State Department in the area. “We knew Sean was on the ground,” O’Brien said. “And they said, ‘Look, he’s got to get out. He’s got to get out now.’ Because at the time, the Russian plan was a decapitation strike. They were trying to get paratroopers through this local airport that was about…20 kilometers outside of Kyiv, and then race those paratroopers in, surround the presidential palace, surround the key ministry buildings, and take out the government, and put in a puppet very quickly.”
Penn also said he had met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the early hours of the invasion.
“Where we met with him was in such a place where we would not know when day had turned into night,” Penn said. “We would not know if certain other organic sounds might instead be the vibration of rockets above.
“And so we had gone in, in the daylight. And when we came out, we came out to a city under complete curfew, blackout. The recommendation was that we not take our car back to where we were staying. And it was — I don’t know. It was about a two-mile walk. ”
The actor continued that a security consultant on his team urged an exit.
“We had a security consultant there, and saying, we — our information is this, and he thinks that the best time to leave is 10 minutes ago.”
Previously, the actor was in Ukraine in November, when he traveled to document what it was like for troops on the frontlines.