Brian Cox says Russian actors banned from speaking about Ukraine invasion

Brian Cox has said that Russian actors have been banned from speaking about the invasion of Ukraine during an acceptance speech.

The actor was speaking after Succession won the Outstanding Performance By An Ensemble In A Drama Series gong at last night’s (February 27) SAG Awards.

Taking to the podium, the actor spoke about the ongoing crisis following the Russian invasion last week, calling it “truly, truly awful”.

“One other thing I would like to add, which I think is important to me and I hope important to you, and I think as actors and performers and writers and directors… this is a thing that’s come to me about what’s going on in Ukraine,” he said. “It’s truly, truly awful. Really, really awful what’s happening.

“It’s particularly awful in terms of [how] it’s affecting people, particularly in our profession. The President of Ukraine [Volodymyr Zelensky] was a comic. He was a wonderful comic performer. And we should respect that for him. To come to the presidency was amazing.

“But the thing that’s really distressed me is what’s happening in Russia, to my fellow actors and actresses and performers and writers and critics,” Cox continued. “They are told, under pain of high treason, they cannot say a word about Ukraine. And I think that is pretty awful.

“I think we should all stand together, and also for those people, the people in Russia who don’t like what’s going on, and particularly the artists. I think we should really join in celebrating them and hope that they can make a shift. Because I believe they can,” he added, before receiving a standing ovation from the audience.

Brian Cox - Succession
Brian Cox stars in ‘Succession’ CREDIT: Arturo Holmes/WireImage

Since the invasion, a number of artists from Ukraine have spoken to NME about what the rest of the world can do to help. A number of other prominent artists have also spoken out in support of Ukraine, including Stevie Nicks, Miley Cyrus and Elton John.

Ukraine has a population of 44million and borders Russia and the European Union, and Russia has long resisted the country’s move towards embracing European institutions such as the EU and NATO, according to the BBC.

Russian president Vladimir Putin is demanding guarantees from the West and Ukraine that it doesn’t join NATO, and that it demilitarises and becomes a neutral state.

You can donate here to the Red Cross to help those affected by the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Elsewhere, last night’s SAG Awards also saw two big wins for Squid Game stars Lee Jung-jae and Jung Ho-yeon, making history in the process by becoming the first actors to win awards at the series for a non-English-language series. The series also won Outstanding Performance By A Stunt Ensemble In A Television Series.

On the film side, CODA was the big winner, taking home Outstanding Performance By By A Cast In A Motion Picture and Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor In A Supporting Role for Troy Kotsur, while Will Smith, Jessica Chastain and Ariana DeBose won the other major awards.

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