In March, then-Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch said of the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the British Academy Film Awards, “We need to donate. We need to push our politicians to continue to create some kind of a refugee…haven here for people that are suffering.”
The actor also pledged to take personal action.
“Everyone needs to do as much as they can. I think already today the news has broke that there’s been a record number of people volunteering to take people into their homes. I hope to be part of that myself.”
Cumberbatch, it seems, followed through on that pledge.
The Doctor Strange star told Sky News at the London Multiverse of Madness premiere Tuesday that he has been paired with a Ukrainian family and will welcome them into his home when they arrive in the UK.
“They’ve made it out of Ukraine,” he said. “I’m monitoring their progress every day.”
He explained, “Sadly, they are undergoing some medical treatment — to say anything more about that would be invasion of their privacy and too much about when they’re coming and how that’s being managed would invade mine — but I want to give them some stability after the turmoil that they’ve experienced, and that’s within my home.”
And that is not the extent of his actions.
“I’ve been trying to help other Ukrainian families — nationals that are UK citizens — to house their extended families en masse, which you know they want to do, but it’s very costly,” said Cumberbatch. “So, I’ve been trying to help out with that financially in a couple of instances.”
According to the the U.N, over 7 million people in Ukraine have been displaced as a result of the Russian assault, with more than 5 million of those fleeing the country. Nearly 3 million of the refugees are being absorbed by Poland.
The UK has a family visa program “for Ukrainians who have an immediate or extended family member in the UK,” according to the BBC, as well as an initiative called “Homes for Ukraine” which allows Ukrainian refugees without relations in the UK to settle there. Cumberbatch’s efforts would seem to fall into both categories. Out of 117,600 applications thus far in the UK, 86,100 visas have been issued through the programs.
“I’m working through a wonderful charity called Refugees at Home,” the actor said, “which is a great gateway to the government scheme, but also to offering further wider support that’s needed for the psychological trauma that these people are suffering from.”
He continued, “I would urge people to seek out further help to bolster their efforts, and people are doing an amazing amount – it makes me very proud, very, very proud of our country and very proud of what we can be at our best as a human race.”