Benedict Cumberbatch holds up a Ukrainian flag at Santa Barbara International Film Festival

‘Stand united with Ukraine,’ he shouted out at the audience

Benedict Cumberbatch calls for action on Ukraine as he's honoured with Walk of Fame star

Benedict Cumberbatch held up a Ukrainian flag at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Wednesday (9 March) in solidarity with the country as it is being invaded by Russia.

The actor was handed the flag by an audience member at the festival’s Cinema Vanguard Award ceremony.

“Stand united with Ukraine,” he shouted out as he went to leave the stage, before spotting someone holding up the flag to him and reaching out to retrieve it.

Last month, the Sherlock star called attention to the crisis in Ukraine when he was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“I can’t speak today... without acknowledging the obvious of what’s happening in Ukraine and to show my support for the people of Ukraine, my support for the people of Russia who are opposing the Kleptocracy and the idiocy of their rulers to try and halt the progression of this atrocity,” he said.

Cumberbatch added: “We can’t stand back anymore. This is no longer a time for avarice or sloth or inactiveness or ineptitude.

“We need to act, and there are things you can do. You can support organisations. You can support those who help refugees on the ground. You can support human rights organisations.”

Benedict Cumberbatch

The actor urged people to “pressure your politicians, your bank, your industries to recognise anything that you can do to help”.

You can follow along with updates on the Russia-Ukraine crisis at The Independent’s live-blog here.

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The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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