The actor and filmmaker, who was in the country making a documentary about Russia’s invasion, said he and two colleagues had abandoned their car on the side of the road and walked miles to the Polish border.
“Almost all the cars in this photo carry women & children only, most without any sign of luggage, and a car their only possession of value,” he wrote, sharing an image of a long line of cars.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled Ukraine into neighboring countries. At least 280,000 have entered Poland, mostly women and children. Ukrainian men age 18-60 must remain to fight.
Penn was praised by the Ukrainian president’s office on Thursday for his work, which included meetings with the the deputy prime minister, journalists and military personnel.
“Sean Penn demonstrates the courage that many others, especially western politicians lack,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office wrote on Facebook. “The director specially came to Kiev to record all the events that are currently happening in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country.”
Penn was also in Ukraine in late November to work on the project, which is being produced by Vice Studios. He has been involved in multiple international humanitarian and antiwar efforts over the years.