Jessica Chastain tells of her 'devastating' visit to Ukraine

Holding back tears, the actress recounted the terror and heartbreak she witnessed this year

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Oscar-winning actress Jessica Chastain fought to hold back tears as she recounted her August trip to war-torn Ukraine on US late-night television.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye actress told Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday about her meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, her visit to a children’s hospital and a lunch that she will not soon forget.

After talking to Ukrainian colleagues to see how she could best help, Chastain was asked if she would consider going there — and she said yes.

To reach the capital Kyiv, she flew into Warsaw in Poland and then had to take a 12-hour train ride before reaching Mr Zelenskyy at a secure location.

She also visited a family and a children’s hospital, both of which she spoke about with Kimmel.

"They made a beautiful lunch for me and at one point I said, 'Is that a bullet hole in the mirror?' Chastain said.

"And then I looked at the ceiling and there were bullet holes, and then I looked in the chair I was sitting [and it] had bullet holes, and there were little kids … like a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old, and I just don't understand what is happening to the world."

Chastain said she felt a responsibility to use her celebrity to shine a spotlight on those who needed it.

“I understood how sad it would be … when I was meeting the kids at the hospital, I felt, just my heart was going out to them, because there was a girl with her mom and she needed new legs, right?

"So that was really devastating."

Chastain also visited Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital, Ukraine's national news agency reported.

The actress joined the growing list of A-listers who have visited Ukraine in a show of support for the country after Russia's invasion.

Mr Zelenskyy has met actors Sean Penn, Ben Stiller and Leiv Schreiber, and actress Angelina Jolie visited Lviv to meet people displaced by the war.

Dr Jill Biden, wife of US President Joe Biden, made a surprise visit to western Ukraine on Mother's Day in May this year.

Updated: October 13, 2022, 10:03 PM
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