Recently, survival expert Bear Grylls went to Ukraine amid the ongoing crisis with Russia to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and admits it was heartbreaking to witness the “loss and hardship” that the country continues to go through. Now, he hopes that the world stands up to the “bully” to help peace prevail.
“It has been one of the most important journeys that I have done in my life. There was a risk involved as we were going into a war zone. But I really wanted to do it because I wanted people around the world to hear some of the real stories, not just the political angle, or at the macro level. But look at the micro level, what are people going through. What is the leader, who has become such an inspiration and a figure for resilience and courage, doing for the country? What is he like? Everyone I spoke to in Ukraine about the President, they mentioned that it doesn’t matter what they thought of him before. It’s about being united behind him today,” he says.
In fact, he documented his experience of going to the war zone, meeting the people of the country and the present in his show, War Zone: Bear Grylls Meets President Zelenskyy.
Looking back at the experience, the 48-year-old mentions, “It was the most challenging TV show that we have ever done. We have been to many difficult places in my life, many jungles, deserts, mountains, unforgiving places, but never an active war zone. We flew to Poland, and then we drove to the border. That’s when everything got serious with lights off, everyone dressed in green, no aeroplanes in the sky… We went into the war zone to meet the incredible Ukrainians who have gone through so much hardship and suffering and heard their stories, and visited some of the places that have been worst affected. We had missile threats every day. The mission was to go and spend time with the President… Getting to know the man was a real privilege.”
The expert, who has gone on several adventures with global Indian icons, from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to actor Ranveer Singh, feels people should remember that war is never an answer.
“What struck me is that 99% of people all around the world are just good people wanting to raise their families, follow their dreams. It’s just a few bad people persuading and lying to people and invading sovereign countries, committing atrocities and being a bully. At some point, one has to stand up against the bully, and say, ‘You can’t do that’. Nobody in the world wanted this. It has created so much pain, loss and hardship. We all pray that the world stands up to a bully, and say you can’t do that, and peace and goodness will prevail,” he says.
Talking about his memories, Grylls mentions, “It is a country of human beings through incredible hardships, threats, showing extraordinary courage and resilience”.
“There is one man fighting for his home. We have seen NATO reinvigorated to protect sovereignty. Let’s hope it’s a reminder to all the world that war is never the answer, invading other countries is never worth it. Love ultimately always wins. We might lose some battles, but the wars on a bigger scale. Let’s hope that happens here,” he ends.