Katheryn Winnick has not been able to find the right words to describe the horrors of watching from afar as her beloved Ukraine is under attack — so she’s taking action.

“I was in Ukraine a few months ago as a personal guest of [President Volodymyr Zelensky] and the first lady for a 10-day trip with the entire government to celebrate 30 years of Ukraine. To see the amount of energy, pride and nationalism the Ukrainian people had on the streets there was beautiful. Coming from a strong Ukrainian family in Canada, we take a lot of pride in being Ukrainian, so it’s been surreal to see us getting bombed,” the Vikings star told THR at the recent DGA Awards. “I’m in touch with President Zelensky’s team on a near daily basis, getting a lot of updates, and it’s heartbreaking to see what’s happening. I can’t believe that we live in a century where innocent men, women and children are getting murdered right before our eyes.”

Winnick confirmed to THR that she’s teamed with her mother to launch the Winnick Foundation to raise funds for relief efforts. It’s really important to help those on the ground and continue to fight this,” she said, adding that her family in Canada, including her mother (a lifelong champion of philanthropy and someone who has been dedicated to nonprofits for years), are taking in refugees and helping them with medical care and supplies. As for Zelensky, Winnick praised him as “our voice of the people,” adding, “He is our leader, and I don’t know where we would be without him. He’s brought the entire world together.”

A version of this story first appeared in the March 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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