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In the days since Russia's military launch an invasion of Ukraine last week, people around the world have reached out with messages of support for the Ukrainian people defending their homeland. Whether through tweets, a moving cold open on Saturday Night Live, or small donations to aid organizations, support for Ukraine has been widespread.
Naturally, celebrities have also gotten in on lending their support, but some have gone quite a bit bigger with their generosity. On Saturday, Deadpool and The Adam Project star Ryan Reynolds and his wife, A Simple Favor and The Rhythm Section star Blake Lively, pledged a massive matching donation in support of refugees from Ukraine. The couple pledged up to $1 million in matching donations to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and encouraged their fans to give to the organization as more and more Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes ahead of advancing Russian forces.
"In 48 hours, countless Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes to neighboring countries," Reynolds wrote on Twitter. "They need protection. When you donate, we’ll match it up to $1,000,000, creating double the support."
"@UNRefugeeAgency is on the ground providing lifesaving aid, & working with neighboring countries to ensure protection for the 50,000+ who were just forced to flee," Lively wrote.
By Sunday, Lively's estimate of more than 50,000 refugees from Ukraine had grown significantly. CNN reported that the number of Ukrainians fleeing their homes into neighboring countries had already swelled to more than 368,000, according to the UNHCR, with more expected as the fighting continued near Ukraine's largest cities, including Kyiv and Kharkiv. By Monday morning, UNHCR tweeted that the refugee number had topped half a million Ukrainians.
As of this writing, fighting continued into Monday, with Russian forces continuing to concentrate on Kyiv even as the two countries sent delegations for talks in Belarus.
The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.