American actor Sean Penn has called on a wealthy philanthropist to come forward with $500 million to procure at least two squadrons of fighter planes, as well as missile defense systems for Ukraine, following President Volodymyr Zelensky’s repeated pleas to the US goverment.
“One billionaire could end this war in Ukraine,” the staunchly pro-Kiev actor-turned-filmmaker tweeted on Thursday, delivering an itemized menu of demands.
Penn estimated that “2 squadrons of F-15s or F-16s,” which he claimed feature “better tech than Russian Migs [sic] or SU’s,” would cost only about $300 million. He also called for “another $200m in missile defense,” and further suggested that with three weeks of training plus “add-ons in arming & maintaining creative runways, etc.,” Ukraine’s pilots would be ready to kick Russia out of its skies. The actor did not elaborate on how exactly he expects such a privately funded deal to comply with US arms exports control.
One billionaire could end this war in Ukraine. Of course there are add-ons in arming & maintaining creative runways, etc., but seems worth a think. (2/2)— Sean Penn (@SeanPenn) March 31, 2022
Penn’s plea came just hours after the Ukrainian government reportedly renewed its own demands for further weaponry, including planes. Kiev’s wish list includes reconnaissance and attack drones, tactical radars, electronic warfare anti-drone systems, and close-air support aircraft, according to CNN, which added that the country is also asking for anti-ship missiles, optical surveillance equipment, and transport planes for weapons.
The US and several European countries have already sent hundreds of millions of dollars in military equipment to Ukraine, though they have thus far balked at arming the country with fighter planes, while President Volodymyr Zelensky appears to have let up on his demand for a no-fly zone.
Penn was in Ukraine when Russia sent troops into the neighboring country in February. He was in the process of making a documentary with Vice Media about Kiev’s war on the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, which were recognized by Russia as independent republics after eight years of bloody civil war.
The actor distinguished himself among Zelensky’s many American cheerleaders by demanding the Ukrainian leader be given a platform to speak at the Academy Awards, threatening to not only boycott the event but to melt down his own statues if he wasn’t included. Not inviting Zelensky would constitute the “most obscene moment in all of Hollywood history,” the actor declared melodramatically. However, Zelensky did not make an appearance at the Oscars, and Penn has not yet melted down his statues.