Actor Sean Penn is in Ukraine documenting Russia’s invasion as tensions escalate in the region.
Penn, 61, is working on a documentary with VICE Studios, in association with VICE World News and Endeavor Content, a spokesperson for VICE confirmed. The spokesperson declined to provide NBC News with further comment or information about the project.
A representative for Penn did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
Penn's presence on the ground was confirmed hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine. Russia bombarded Ukraine by air, land and sea on Thursday, killing dozens of soldiers and civilians.
The Oscar-winning actor was photographed at a press briefing at the presidential office in Kyiv on Thursday in images shared by the Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation Press Service. Penn was also featured briefly on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Instagram story.
This was not Penn's first trip to Ukraine. Last November, Penn traveled to the country to meet with members of the military near the front lines with Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk, Deadline reported. The Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation Press Service shared an image of Penn from that trip, showing the actor speaking with members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Penn has previously been criticized for putting himself in the center of global crises.
In October 2015, he interviewed drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán for an article for Rolling Stone. Months later, the actor admitted in an interview with CBS that the "article failed" because it didn’t spark debate about what he described as Americans’ moral complicity in the country’s drug-related street violence.