A number of actors used their time onstage at the 2022 SAG Awards to briefly speak about Russia’s invasion, with many offering their support for the people of Ukraine.

At the end of his acceptance speech for best ensemble in a drama series, Succession star Brian Cox expressed his distress at what was happening in Ukraine, but beyond that, he urged support for Russian actors who are opposed to the invasion.

“It’s particularly awful in terms of [how] it’s affecting other people, particularly in our profession,” he said. “The president of Ukraine was a comic.”

He added: “The thing that’s really distressed me is what’s happening in Russia, to our fellow actors, and actresses, and performers, and writers and critics. They are told under pain of high treason that they cannot say a word about Ukraine. And I think that is pretty awful, and I think we should all stand together for those people in Russia who don’t like what’s going on — the artists. I think we should join in celebrating them and hoping that they can actually make a shift. Because I believe they can.”

Others who addressed the conflict during their time onstage included SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher, who called for “prayers to the people of Ukraine,” along with winners Jean Smart (“please everybody pray for peace”), Jessica Chastain and Michael Keaton; and presenter Leslie Odom Jr.

“My heart is with our international family all over the world, fighting for their safety and freedom,” Chastain said in her acceptance speech for best actress in a film for her role in The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Earlier Sunday the SAG Awards posted a statement to social media expressing solidarity with the people of Ukraine: “We stand united with Ukraine, today and every day. We hear you and our hearts are with you.”

The comments come as Russian President Vladimir Putin dramatically escalated the conflict with Ukraine on Sunday by ordering Russian nuclear forces on high alert. Also on Sunday, the European Union and Canada agreed to close its airspace to Russian airlines. The EU and U.S. have also committed to spending hundreds of millions of dollars to provide military assistance, in the form of weapons and other equipment, to Ukraine and both bodies cut Russian banks from the SWIFT international financial banking system. The EU has also banned pro-Kremlin media outlets.

Meanwhile, fighting has continued in Ukraine since Russian forces invaded on Thursday. The number of casualties remains unclear, but Ukraine’s health minister reported Saturday that 198 people, including three children, had been killed and more than 1,000 others wounded, according to The Associated Press.

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