Rams Coach Sean McVay and Fiancée Veronika Khomyn 'Proudly Stand with' Ukraine at Critics Choice Awards

"They have faced unimaginable adversity with such profound grace and bravery, their fight and the way they have united the world is truly inspiring," Veronika Khomyn said of her "fellow Ukrainians"

Veronika Khomyn and Sean McVay
Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty

Sean McVay and his fiancée Veronika Khomyn shared a moving message amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Prior to presenting the best picture award to The Power of the Dog at the 27th annual Critics Choice Awards Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams coach and Khomyn addressed the war in their speeches.

"Before we announce the nominees, we'd like to take a moment to talk about what's on all of our minds: Veronika's home country Ukraine," the Super Bowl-winning coach said.

Khomyn shared, "I proudly stand with my fellow Ukrainians and I admire their strength. They have faced unimaginable adversity with such profound grace and bravery, their fight and the way they have united the world is truly inspiring. There is no place in our world for this kind of violence and our prayers go out to all the lives that have been lost."

"Even in the darkest times, the human spirit endures," McVay continued. "There's a lot to be said for entertaining people, sometimes it's the only thing they've got. All of you in this room have so much to give with that entertainment that you can provide."

The couple met between 2011 and 2013 while he served as a coach for Washington's football team and she was a student at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. They announced their engagement in June 2019.

In a heartfelt Instagram post, Khomyn said Feb. 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, was "the hardest day I've ever experienced."

She added, "I don't know what I feel at this point…But it is anger, sadness, I feel disappointment in the rest of the world, and more than anything I feel guilt for not being able to be there with my family during this time."

RELATED VIDEO: As Russia's Invasion of Ukraine Continues, Citizens Around the World Still Manage to Uplift Each Other

"In the middle of the night, our city, like many other Ukrainian cities, woke up to emergency sirens, missiles explosions and military aircraft flying through. Our airport has been bombed and completely destroyed," Khomyn said. "This morning, my brother didn't get to go to school or go on a walk with our dog, my dad was unable to go to work or even take money out of the bank and my stepmom, who is a nurse at a local city hospital, is preparing to treat our wounded troops. My family is not fleeing Ukraine, because it is their home. Nor should they have to leave their homeland, their parents, brothers and sisters, just to be safe and have a better life."

She continued, "This is more than Russia invading our beautiful and independent Ukraine. This is a look into our tomorrow, into the world our children will grow up in, and the future of democracy."

She ended by thanking supporters and encouraging her followers to use their platforms to help Ukraine.

Russia's attack on Ukraine continues after their forces launched a large-scale invasion on Feb. 24 — the first major land conflict in Europe in decades.

Details of the fighting change by the day, but hundreds of civilians have already been reported dead or wounded, including children. More than a million Ukrainians have also fled, the United Nations says. The invasion, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has drawn condemnation around the world and increasingly severe economic sanctions against Russia. Putin insists Ukraine has historic ties to Russia and he is acting in the best security interests of his country. Zelenskyy vowed not to bend.

The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.

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