Hollywood superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger has weighed in on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, urging the Russian soldiers to lay down arms.
“The Russian government has lied not only to its citizens but to its soldiers,” said Schwarzenegger in a nine-minute video posted to Twitter and addressed to his “dear Russian friends and the soldiers fighting in Ukraine”.
“This is not the war, to defend Russia, that your grandfather or your great grandfather’s fought. This is an illegal war. Your lives, your limbs, your futures are being sacrificed for a senseless war condemned by the entire world.”
In a message directed at Russian President Vladimir Putin, Schwarzenegger placed the responsibility for the war squarely on the ex-KGB agent’s shoulders.
“You started this war. You are leading this war. You can end this war.”
I love the Russian people. That is why I have to tell you the truth. Please watch and share. pic.twitter.com/6gyVRhgpFV
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) March 17, 2022
Rubbishing claims of a war against Nazis
The former governor of California elaborated on the disinformation being shared with Russians, refuting claims that Russia was fighting against Nazis in Ukraine.
Schwarzenegger noted: “Ukraine is a country with a Jewish president. A Jewish president I might add, whose father’s three brothers were all murdered by the Nazis.”
“You’re also not being told the truth about the consequences of this war on Russia itself,” he continued, describing the losses that Russian forces were taking in Ukraine as well as the economic sanctions that have been imposed since the invasion.
Schwarzenegger’s love for Russian people
Schwarzenegger, who was born and grew up in Austria, started his video recalling a childhood encounter with his hero Yuri Vlasov, a world champion Russian weightlifter.
Meeting Vlasov — whom Schwarzenegger described as “kind” and “very giving” — sparked his affection and respect for the Russian people, said the bodybuilder.
“The strength and the heart of the Russian people have always inspired me,” he added.
Speaking with “heartfelt concern”, Schwarzenegger asked Russians watching his message to spread his message to others.
He concluded by praising the bravery of Russians who had been protesting the war; “you are my new heroes,” he said.
The “Terminator” actor has over five million followers on Twitter.
He is also of 22 accounts followed by the Kremlin’s official Twitter profile.
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Top image from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Twitter account