Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, sparking outrage from every corner of the globe. Many continue to criticize Putin’s actions to this day, calling for an end to the unspeakable tragedy. Mickey Rourke is among those horrified by the invasion. However, the Oscar-winning actor also can’t help but recall experiencing Vladimir Putin’s humanity when he met the Russian leader in 2014.
In a recent episode of Piers Morgan Uncensored, Mickey Rourke struggled to reconcile the fond memories with the terrible actions taken against Ukraine. The actor explained that he and a group of fellow entertainers visited Russia nearly a decade ago. During the meeting, Vladimir Putin sang and danced with his American visitors.
Later, Putin and Rourke went to St. Petersburg, where they visited a home for children suffering from terminal cancer. “I looked over at Vladimir,” Rourke recalled. “And I could see somebody that was genuinely concerned about where we were. And someone who was empathetic and he was there for a sincere reason.”
Mickey Rourke then expressed his disbelief that the same man who was so genuinely concerned for ill children would cause massive loss of life in Ukraine. “[I wish] a little bell would ring in [Putin’s] head or his heart and he’d wake up and just stop all this s–t,” Rourke said.
“I don’t understand what he wants,” the actor continued. “And it’s not only combatants that are getting killed, but old people are getting killed, young people are getting killed. Schools are getting targeted, hospitals are getting targeted. All that s–t’s not right.”
Mickey Rourke Tearfully Recalls the Image From Ukraine That ‘Bothered’ Him Most
Though Mickey Rourke has been in utter shock and disbelief since the invasion of Ukraine began, the actor found one specific image particularly upsetting. “The image that bothered me the most,” he said, tears welling in his eyes. “I saw this old man old and a little grey kitten. And the old man survived his house being bombed.”
“He lost five family members and the only thing he had, it’s kind of hard for me to talk about it, the only thing he had was this little grey kitty,” Rourke continued. “I looked at that image… And I said, how can I have anything to worry about? Losing a movie? Or I’m having a bad day?”
At the end of his conversation with Piers Morgan, Mickey Rourke addressed Vladimir Putin directly. “You’re not going to live forever,” Rourke said tearfully. “Look at Peter the Great, Napoleon, what happened to them trying to get more and more. You’ve got your power and your money. Just live your life and let these people in Ukraine be independent in the Democratic society they want to live in and just stop today. Not tomorrow. Just stop right now.”