Mark Hamill has joined Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to raise money for drones to fight Russia, which the star compared to the “evil empire” from the Star Wars films. The 71-year-old actor announced the news on social media on Thursday (29 September).
Sharing a picture of himself in a virtual meeting with Zelensky, Hamill wrote: “Honoured to be an ambassador for the Army of Drones and to help President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine in any way possible.”
Hamill was named an ambassador for United24, the Ukrainian government’s fundraising platform, and will focus his attention on promoting the Army of Drones project, according to a press release from Zelensky’s office. The initiative centres on the procurement, repair and replacement of drones as well as pilot training.
United 24 reported that the new ambassador introduction took place during an online call. Zelensky expressed his gratitude to Hamill for supporting Ukrainian people since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion:
"Mark, you have become the first ambassador to help Ukraine raise funds to support its defenders. For Ukrainians, this means a lot. As in Star Wars, good will triumph over evil and light will overcome darkness. With you in the team, there's no other way around it," Zelensky said.
The pair also discussed the actor's next steps in supporting the initiative. Hamill said in a statement: "In this long and unequal fight, Ukraine needs continuous additional support. That's why I was honored President Zelensky asked me to become an ambassador for the Army of Drone".
He added: "I know for certain that Ukrainians need drones to protect their land, their freedom and the values of the entire democratic world. Right now is the best time for everyone to come together and help Ukraine stand up in this war with the evil empire."
Other celebrities — including the band Imagine Dragons and the singer and actress Barbra Streisand — have also been named ambassadors for the platform.
The announcement came before a Russian missile was reported to have hit a convoy of civilian vehicles, killing 23 people and wounding 28 in the central city of Zaporizhzhya.
United24 said the Armed Forces of Ukraine have already received 986 drones, totalling £46.2 million.