Hayden Panettiere Says Daughter Kaya, 7, Is 'Safe and Not in Ukraine' Following Russia's Invasion
Hayden Panettiere says her daughter Kaya Evdokia Klitschko, 7, is "safe and not in Ukraine" following Russia's invasion of the country.
The 32-year-old Nashville alum confirmed her daughter's safety in the comment section of a Friday Instagram post where she weighed in on the humanitarian crisis for the first time.
Panettiere shares Kaya with ex-fiancé and former professional boxer Wladimir Klitschko, who hails from Ukraine. Klitschko's brother Vitali Klitschko is the mayor of Kyiv.
In her Instagram post, Panettiere shared a message of support for the Ukrainian people alongside a photo of herself smiling while preparing to hug an unidentified person.
hayden panettiere/ instagram
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"I have personally witnessed the strength of the Ukrainian people who fought so hard for their independence and have continued to passionately defend their country over the years," the actress wrote in the caption.
"This horrific moment in history sends a terrifying message: the message that in this day and age, in year 2022, it's okay to violate the rights of free people and allow autocrats like Putin to take whatever they please," she continued. "I'm praying for my family and friends there and everyone who's fighting. I wish you had more support and I wish I was there fighting with you!"
"For now, I ask for those of us who can't be there to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and show your support for #democracy," she concluded.
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Wladimir, 45, also shared a message supporting his home country Friday on Instagram. In his post, the retired athlete displayed a black-and-white photo, taken by German photographer Michael Pfeiffer, of himself holding his hand up to the camera lens, with the words "demo-cracy" and "#demo4democracy" written on his palm.
"Demonstrations are a key element of democracy. On our continent at this moment fundamental elements of democracy are under threat," wrote Wladimir in the caption. He then encouraged others to "get involved and use the freedoms that democracy offers you to express your support and solidarity."
"Therefore, I call upon all citizens to organize demonstrations and raise their voices against war, for democracy and for freedom," he continued. "I ask the people of the European democracies to stand side by side with the free, democracy-loving Ukrainian people."
"The cowardly and murderous attack by the autocratic Russian regime on us must be stopped immediately," Wladimir concluded. "Start 'demo-cracy,' a demonstration for democracy, against war, and for a peaceful and free future for the children of our continent."
Russia began an invasion of Ukraine earlier this week, according to the Ukraine government, with forces moving from the north, east and south. The attack is still-evolving but explosions and airstrikes have been reported, with threats mounting against the capital, Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million people.
Numerous residents have been seen trying to flee. "We are facing a war and horror. What could be worse?" one 64-year-old woman living in Kyiv told the Associated Press.
President Putin's aggression toward Ukraine has been widely condemned by the international community, including with economic sanctions and NATO troops massing in the region. Putin insists Ukraine has historic ties to Russia and he is acting in the interest of so-called "peacekeeping."
"The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces," President Biden said as the invasion appeared to begin in force this week.
The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.