Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is extremely popular in Russia, where he has millions of followers, including President Vladimir Putin himself, whom he addressed in a video asking him to stop the war in Ukraine and stop sacrificing the lives of thousands of Ukrainians. and Russian soldiers.
Schwarzenegger, who is one of just 22 people President Putin follows on Twitter, says in a nine-minute video that Russian soldiers were told they would fight Nazis in Ukraine, or protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine. that country, or that they would carry out military exercises and be received as heroes. He said many of those soldiers now know those claims are false.
Addressing Putin directly, the former California governor tells him: “You started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war.”
The emotional video, subtitled in Russian, was posted on the networks Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, which are blocked in Russia, but also shared on the Telegram messaging app, which has no restrictions and where it received more than half a million views.
“This is an illegal war,” Schwarzenegger declares from a desk and looking directly into the camera. “Their lives, their limbs and their futures are being sacrificed in a senseless war condemned by the entire world.”
Schwarzenegger’s message was also addressed to the Russians
The former California governor reports that his own father was deceived while fighting alongside Adolf Hitler’s forces during World War II, and returned to Austria physically and mentally shattered after being wounded in Leningrad.
He called on Russians to make their compatriots aware of “the human catastrophe that is taking place in Ukraine.” More than three million people have fled since the start of the Russian invasion, according to UN figures.
The video shows destroyed buildings in that country and people trying to protect themselves from Russian bombing.
He also referred to all the Russians who have taken to the streets to protest against the invasion of Ukraine and who have been arrested and repressed, whom he called “my new heroes.”
Schwarzenegger described his longstanding ties to Russia, which he visited as a bodybuilder and action movie hero. In 2010, as Governor of California, he led a delegation of business leaders and investors from Silicon Valley.
Ukraine asks to share the video
An adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs who works to spread information about the course of the war called on Ukrainians to share the video with friends and relatives in Russia.
“Putin and his propagandists call us Ukrainians fascists and Nazis,” adviser Anton Gerashchenko said on Telegram. “But his propaganda is shattered when super famous people from all over the world join their voices to say: ‘No war!'”
Gerashchenko has more than 385,000 subscribers on his Telegram channel. He included a link that leads to a Russian-dubbed version of Schwarzenegger’s video that he posted on his YouTube channel.