In addition to raising more than $35 million for Ukrainian refugees, the actress is educating her children about their cultural background.
As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, actor Mila Kunis shared how she has discussed the ongoing war with her children. The "Black Swan" actress, who was born in Soviet Ukraine, hadn't particularly considered the connotations of her cultural background until recently. Now, she is trying to educate her two young children—daughter Wyatt Isabelle, 7, and son Dimitri Portwood, 5—with as much nuance as possible. Kunis shared what these conversations with her kids looked like on the most recent episode of "Who's Talking to Chris Wallace?" alongside her husband and fellow actor Ashton Kutcher, PEOPLE Magazine reports.
"I don't speak Ukrainian. When I was raised in Ukraine it was still under the USSR umbrella, so I spoke Russian, which is what we all spoke," Kunis told Wallace during the interview. "So my kids understand Russian. I speak Russian with my parents... I was like, 'It's good to know another language.' That's all I kind of kept thinking, was it's good to know another language. But I never thought culturally speaking was important for where they came from." However, referring to the invasion of Ukraine, she has taken a different view altogether when speaking with her young kids.
For 30 seconds, the Oscars went silent for Ukraine.— The Associated Press (@AP) March 28, 2022
“One cannot help but be in awe of those who find strength to keep fighting through unimaginable darkness,” said Ukrainian-born actor Mila Kunis. https://t.co/0TroFOkkJX
The actress continued, "It never crossed my mind until this [the war] happened. It seemed like overnight we both turned to our kids and were like, 'You are half Ukrainian, half American.' It instantly became a thing, and they're like, 'Yeah, I get it, mom.'" Kunis is driving the point home at every opportunity she receives because she believes it is important to know your cultural roots. "But it is ultimately incredibly important to know where you came from," she affirmed. "It's beautiful, it's amazing to have multiple cultures. It's a beautiful thing to have out there. We shouldn't all be alike. We shouldn't all think alike. That's not the importance of community and growth. And so, we very quickly reminded our kids that they are half Ukrainian."
Mila Kunis talks about being born and spending her childhood Ukraine and what she felt when the war has started pic.twitter.com/Vb0AnEMF2N— Michael Elgort 🤍❤️🤍🇺🇦✡️ (@just_whatever) April 4, 2022
In early March, Kunis and Kutcher launched a fundraiser in support of Ukrainian refugees via GoFundMe. Since the fundraising campaign first went live, it has raised more than $35 million. In an Instagram video posted on March 17 celebrating the campaign passing the $30 million mark, she states, "We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the support. And while this is far from a solve of the problem, our collective effort will provide a softer landing for so many people as they forge ahead into their future of uncertainty." "Our work is not done," Kutcher adds. "We're going to do everything we can to ensure the outpouring of love that came from you all as a part of this campaign finds a maximum impact for those in need."
The ongoing invasion, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been condemned by political leaders and citizens alike. Increasingly, countries around the world have passed severe economic sanctions against Russia in hopes of ending the conflict. Nonetheless, Russia's attack on Ukraine, the first major land conflict in Europe in decades, continues. Hundreds of civilians including children have already been reported dead or wounded, while millions of Ukrainians have also fled the country according to the United Nations. If you would like to help, you can still make a donation to the couple's fundraiser here.