This week, as Ukraine got targeted by a wave of intensified missile strikes, one of leading Ukrainian actresses and activists, Ivanna Sakhno, met with our frontline staff in Kyiv and spent two days in Poland meeting with women and children displaced by the ongoing war. 

Ivanna, an acclaimed Ukrainian activist and actress, who has recently joined the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Ambassador programme, met with Ukrainians in safe spaces in Katowice, interacted with women supporting survivors of gender-based violence, visited Ukrainian businesses, talked to job seekers, and participated in a number of integration activities offered by the IRC.

As the unconditional solidarity and global response to the war in Ukraine lose momentum, Ivanna passionately advocates for the international community to scale up its efforts to protect both the people who remain in Ukraine, and those who have been forced to flee.

Reflecting on her time in Ukraine and Poland, Ivanna Sakhno said:

“As the headlines begin to fade, people forget that the war in Ukraine is not just a headline. Behind those headlines are real human stories and anguish. It breaks my heart to see the world gradually becoming desensitised to the plight of countless families suffering in this deadly war, while the global attention and empathy are slowly fading away.

“I am deeply inspired by the resilience and unbreakable spirit of the people whom I met this week, both inside the country and in Poland. We must keep the conversation about Ukraine alive to ensure that the world does not look away, as normal life remains out of reach for millions. 

“How can we forget about families torn apart? How can we forget about children being bombed in their cradles or in school benches? Listening to mothers who were forced to start their lives from scratch in a foreign country, I can relate to the pain of leaving your family behind, as there is no day I do not worry about my own who is still in Ukraine. Uncertainty about the well-being of their loved ones is a shared source of anxiety for most Ukrainians. 74% of recent IRC survey respondents have been separated from a close family member, leaving them isolated during a time of unimaginable stress. 

“The reports of unfolding human tragedy cease to move the public, neither do they inspire the same unconditional international solidarity we witnessed two years ago. But for countless of Ukrainians, the dream of a safe home is out of reach. They need our unfailing compassion and action.”

Notes to editors:

Ivanna Sakhno is one of Ukraine’s leading actresses, embarked on her Hollywood journey at the age of 15, when she left her country for America to pursue her acting career. Sakhno stars as the antagonist Shin Hati in the critically acclaimed Star Wars series "Ahsoka” for Disney+, a spinoff from the popular series "The Mandalorian.” Sakhno rose to prominence in films such as "Pacific Rim: Uprising" and "The Spy Who Dumped Me," where she captivated audiences alongside co-star Mila Kunis, and the lead role in the Lionsgate film “Let It Snow”. In television she performed opposite Zoe Kravitz in HULU’s “High Fidelity” and a lead role in the French, MGM INTERNATIONAL TV limited series “The Reunion” which was shown at the CANNES TV FESTIVAL. Ivanna is a Ukrainian Film Academy Award Nominee and National Television Award winner. In addition to her acting career, Ivanna Sakhno has been an outspoken advocate for her homeland of Ukraine and serves as an Ambassador of the International Rescue Committee and United 24, the official fundraising platform launched by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

About the IRC’s Ukraine Response 

When the war in Ukraine escalated, the IRC launched an emergency response to address the needs of people fleeing in Poland, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Bulgaria. Working with partners, we are striving to ensure that people are safe from abuse and exploitation, that children can continue to safely learn, and that refugees have access to relevant information that enables them to make informed decisions about their next steps. We also run gender-based violence prevention and response activities, and provide mental health and psychological support and inclusion activities focused on boosting employability and economic empowerment. IRC programmes targeting Ukrainian refugees are also active in Greece, Italy, Germany, UK and US.