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Hayden Panettiere has launched a relief fund for those fighting to defend Ukraine.
The former ‘Heroes’ actress – who has seven-year-old daughter Kaya with Ukrainian former boxer Wladimir Klitschko – cannot “continue to sit on the sidelines” and watch people suffer in the country following Russia’s invasion, so she has set up Hoplon International, which aims to raise vital funding for medical supplies and protective equipment.
She told CNN: “There are no words to describe what its been like watching the war in Ukraine unfold.
“It’s gut wrenching knowing the people of Ukraine, people I call my friends and family are desperately trying to defend their way of life in a country that they love.”
Hayden launched the initiative to ensure aid is directly and quickly distributed where it is most needed.
The organisation’s name has its roots in ancient Greece.
Their mission statement explains: “Hoplons were shields employed by the ancient Greeks. In that spirit, Hoplon International funnels support from the global community to the front lines in Ukraine, where outnumbered, outgunned, and largely civilian forces are struggling to defend their country, their way of life, and their fellow citizens.”
The 32-year-old actress praised the “strength” of Ukrainian people last month and admitted she wished she could “fight” with them.
She wrote on Instagram: “I have personally witnessed the strength of the Ukrainian people who fought so hard for their independence and have continued to passionately defend their country over the years.
“This horrific moment in history sends a terrifying message: the message that in this day and age, in year 2022, it’s okay to violate the rights of free people and allow autocrats like Putin to take whatever they please.
“I’m praying for my family and friends there and everyone who’s fighting. I wish you had more support and I wish I was there fighting with you!
“For now, I ask for those of us who can’t be there to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and show your support for #democracy (sic)”