Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds Are Matching Donations To Protect Ukrainian Refugees
They’ll match up to $1 million.
The good works of A-listers Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds continue. The married pair announced on Saturday, Feb. 26 that they’ll match up to $1 million in donations to the nonprofit USA for UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency. In Instagram posts and stories, the actors highlighted the countless Ukrainians who had to flee their homes within the prior 48 hours and called on the public to join their efforts to get displaced people the protection they need.
“[UNHCR] is on the ground helping the 50,000+ Ukrainians who had to flee their homes in less than 48 hours,” Lively wrote, in part. “@usaforunhcr is providing life saving aid, and also working with neighboring countries to ensure protection for these families.”
Reynolds echoed that message, writing, “In 48 hours, countless Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes to neighbouring countries. They need protection. @usaforunhcr is providing it.”
UNHCR’s website expands on the direness of the situation in Ukraine, noting that 3 million people from the country “will require humanitarian assistance this year.” Among the ways UNHCR is helping is by providing immediate shelter, emergency supplies, and care to refugees. The organization also highlights the importance of showing those displaced by violence that “they are not alone at the most devastating moment of their lives.”
The last 48 hours in Ukraine have indeed been dark. Russian troops invaded on Feb. 24 after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military option” with an aim to “demilitarise and de-Nazify” the country, per the Guardian. Since then, the White House has described his rationale as a “false flag,” and Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, called the ongoing attacks a “full-scale invasion” of his homeland, per the Associated Press. Soldiers and ordinary civilians alike have taken up arms to defend Ukraine, and many others have had to flee to safety.
Amid it all, there’s a strong need for the contributions of Lively and Reynolds — and those who are able to join them. On the same day they made their announcement, the U.N. refugee agency reported that nearly 120,000 people had already left Ukraine for nearby countries. Millions more are expected to follow if the situation worsens. In the meantime, their plight is in the spotlight, with numerous high-profile stars using their platforms to discuss the crisis, including Cher, Cardi B, and Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Ukrainian-Americans have also had a powerful voice, such as Dancing With the Stars alum Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who was in Ukraine when the invasion began and hasn’t been able to leave.
“I will never be the same,” he wrote, in part, in a Feb. 24 Instagram post. “This is stressful and I’m getting old feelings back, like I’ve done this before. This does feel like the way it was when and why we left in the 90s.”
To donate and have your contribution matched dollar for dollar by Lively and Reynolds, visit the USA for UNHCR website.