The war-torn city of Lviv in western Ukraine received an unexpected power boost on Saturday as Angelina Jolie paid a private visit to the region.
The actress, 46, is a special envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, but a spokesperson for the agency denied she was in the town, 80 kilometers from the Polish border, for official UN business.
“Angelina Jolie is visiting Ukraine on a personal basis and UNHCR is not involved in this visit,” UN spokesman Matt Saltmarsh said in a statement.
She was spotted at a cafe in the southeast of the city on Saturday, where surprised onlookers shot a video which was later posted to Twitter. At one point she appeared to sign autographs and was accompanied by an unidentified man.
Later, Jolie was also spotted at the city’s central station, where video shows her shaking hands and talking with people.
She is said to have visited children, currently in the Lviv region, who were injured earlier this month in a Russian airstrike on a train station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine.
Aside from scattered social media posts, little is known about the visit.
In early April, Jolie paid a surprise visit to young Ukrainian war refugees being treated at the Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital in Rome.
She was quoted at the time in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera as saying that she was “praying for an end to the war” and that it was “the only way to stop the suffering and the flight from the conflict zones. “.
Separately, in early March, Jolie traveled to Aden, Yemen, in her official capacity with the United Nations, a visit that helped bring attention to the disastrous seven-year conflict and its effects on the people of that region. country.