Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher Get Video Call from Ukrainian President Zelenskyy After Raising $35 Million
By Mona Khalifeh
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Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher's efforts to help Ukraine have not gone unnoticed. Kunis and Kutcher got a call from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, personally thanking the couple for their GoFundMe campaign, which has raised nearly $35 million to help those affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
Earlier this month, the couple launched the campaign -- in conjunction with Airbnb and FlexPort.org -- with a goal of raising $30 million to help those affected by the conflict in Ukraine. The couple also matched $3 million of their own money.
Zelenskyy took to Twitter to share a screenshot of a clip from his video call with the couple, where he personally thanked them for their support.
"@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," Zelenskyy wrote. "Grateful for their support. Impressed by their determination. They inspire the world. #StandWithUkraine."
The couple, who have since surpassed their initial fundraising goal of $30 million, reached the milestone on Thursday, and shared a video to thank those who donated.
"We are overwhelmed with gratitude for your support. 2 weeks ago we asked you to join us and more than 65,000 of you stepped up and donated what you could. Now, with your help we have reached our $30 million goal," pair wrote on Kutcher's Instagram page.
"While this is far from a solution for the problem," they continued, "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. We will do everything we can to ensure that the outpouring of love that came as a part of this campaign finds maximum impact with those in need. Funds have already and will continue to be delivered to Flexport.org and Airbnb.org so they can act now."
They added, "As funding continues to come in we will treat every dollar as if it were being donated from our pocket, with respect and honor for the work that went into earning it, the intent of love through which it was given, and the desire for it so be maximized for positive outcomes for others."
Kunis, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in 1991, opened up about her connection to her native country amid Russia's attack. In a recent interview with Maria Shriver for her Sunday Paper, the 38-year-old actress said that while she was born in Ukraine under the rule of the U.S.S.R., she often told people publicly that she was Russian.
"I very much have always felt like an American," Kunis said. In fact, she would tell people she was from Russia because it was more likely they would know it. "It's been irrelevant to me that I’ve come from Ukraine. It never mattered," she told Shriver. "So much so that I've always said I'm Russian, right? Like I've always been like, 'I'm from Russia' for a multitude of reasons."
"This happens and I can’t express or explain what came over me but all of a sudden…I was like, 'Oh my God, I feel like a part of my heart just got ripped out,'" she described. "It was the weirdest feeling."
While Kunis adamantly declared that she's from Ukraine, and was sure to make that clear, she wanted to also urge those supporting Ukraine to avoid vilifying the Russian people.
"I don't think that we need to consider the people of Russia an enemy. I do really want to emphasize that. I don't think that that's being said enough in the press," Kunis added. "I think that there's now, 'If you're not with us, you're against us' mentality. And I don't want people to conflate the two problems that are happening. I don't think it's the people of Russia and so, I don’t want there to be a thing of ‘All Russians are horrible human beings.’ I don’t want that to be a rhetoric, so I do encourage people to look at it from a perspective of, 'It's the people in power, not the people themselves.'"