Actor George Clooney released a one-minute Youtube video on Monday in solidarity with demonstrators in Ukraine who have gathered to oppose the government’s move toward closer ties with Russia and away from the European Union.
"Let me just say this to all you in the square in Kiev or all around Ukraine: When you look to the West, know that we are looking back at you with great admiration," said Clooney, whose activism in 2012 resulted in his arrest outside of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington D.C. while protesting the Sudanese government’s blockade of humanitarian aid to its people.
"We here in the United States have great affinity with those seeking democracy...true democracy cannot exist without a free and fair and honest election," Clooney goes on to say in the video.
"We wish you a peaceful and safe mission, we wish you the government that you want, and we wish you the strength to carry on. Good luck."
The video was posted on the verified account of opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, the champion boxer and leader of the pro-West Udar party, and his brother Wladimir.
On Sunday, a week into the ongoing demonstrations that began last month, over 500,000 people were estimated to have taken to the streets of Kiev to protest against President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign a trade and association agreement with the E.U.
As calls for his resignation continue, Yanukovych announced Monday he would begin talks with three former Ukrainian leaders to end the protests.
The demonstration is the largest the country has seen since the 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution protests that annulled Yanukovych's presidential victory due to voting fraud. Following a second run-off vote candidate Viktor Yushchenko was declared the winner.
Yanukovych became Yushchenko's successor as Ukrainian President after the Central Election Commission and international observers declared that he had fairly conducted the 2010 presidential election.