Zelenskyy holds video call with Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis

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A fundraising drive to assist Ukrainian refugees that has raised nearly $35 million has earned celebs Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis high praise from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who held a video call with them on Sunday to discuss their efforts.

With citizens of the war-torn country forced to flee for their safety as a result of Russia’s invasion, the celebrity couple launched the GoFundMe “Stand With Ukraine” fundraiser on March 3 with a goal of $30 million; they announced that they would be matching donations up to $3 million.

Kunis, who was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine wrote, “Ukrainians are proud and brave people who deserve our help in their time of need. This unjust attack on Ukraine and humanity at large is devastating and the Ukrainian people need our support.”

The money raised by the drive assists San Francisco-based freight forwarding service Flexport.org which is “organizing shipments of relief supplies to refugee sites in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova” and Airbnb which is also based in the city by the bay and is “providing free, short-term housing to refugees fleeing Ukraine,” according to the GoFundMe page.

The Ukrainian leader also expressed his gratitude to Kutcher and Kunis via Twitter, posting an image of a laptop with the call and writing, “@aplusk & Mila Kunis were among the first to respond to our grief. They have already raised $35 million & are sending it to @flexport & @Airbnb to help 🇺🇦 refugees.”

“Grateful for their support. Impressed by their determination. They inspire the world. #StandWithUkraine,” he added.

In a Monday statement, Zelenskyy said that the actors are a “star couple who sincerely believe in us, in our victory, in our future,” the Daily Mail reported, “They help IDPs [internally displaced refugees] by raising funds. And the two of them have already raised [close to] $35 million,”

“I thanked them on behalf of our people, on behalf of all of us. This is a good result for one couple of our friends in America,” the president added.

On Thursday, Kutcher posted an update on the fundraising efforts on Twitter.

“While this is far from a solution for the problem, our collective effort will provide a softer landing for so many people as they forge ahead into their future of uncertainty. Our work is not done which is why we are raising the goal to $40 million,” he wrote after the initial goal of $30 million was reached.

Kunis expressed her feelings on the Ukrainian people’s tenacity during the invasion in a recent interview with Maria Shriver.

“I’m not pleasantly surprised, but I’m awestricken by this group of people. They’re fighting with their own makeshift weapons,” she said. “It is inspiring.”

(Video: YouTube/Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher Stand With Ukraine)

“While we are witnessing the bravery of Ukrainians, we are also bearing witness to the unimaginable burden of those who have chosen safety. Countless amounts of people have left everything they know and love behind to seek refuge. With nothing but what they could carry, these Ukrainian refugees are in need of housing and supplies right away,” Kunis and Kutcher wrote on GoFundMe.


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