Arnold Schwarzenegger has sent out a message aimed at Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian people about the invasion of Ukraine, calling on the people to listen to him as a “long-time friend” as he sheds light on the “truth”.
The 74-year-old shared a video on social media, in which he described his love for Russia and its people and harsh criticisms of Putin and the Kremlin.
“To President Putin, I say, you started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war,” Schwarzenegger said in the clip.
He began by saying he was sharing his message through “various different channels” to reach the Russian people, including those serving in Ukraine.
“I’m speaking to you today because there are things going on in the world that are being kept from you, terrible things you should know about,” Schwarzenegger began the clip.
In the nine-minute clip, the Terminator star spoke of his Russian hero, weightlifter Yury Vlasov, and how meeting him sparked his long-held friendship with the Russian people.
“Ever since I was 14 years old I’ve had nothing but affection and respect for the people of Russia,” he continued.
“The strength and the heart of the Russian people have always inspired me.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger has visited Russia numerous times over the years, including visiting Moscow in 1996 (pictured). Image: Getty Images
Schwarzenegger went on to say it was these feelings that made him speak out and want to tell the people the truth about the war in Ukraine.
“No one likes to hear something critical about their government, I understand that, but as a longtime friend of the Russian people, I hope that you will hear what I have to say,” he said, adding that he was speaking with the same “heartfelt concern” he used in a message to the American people following the January 6 insurrection attempt.
“I know that your government has told you that this is a war to denazify Ukraine. Denazify Ukraine? This is not true!
“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 see, Ukraine did not start this war. Neither did the nationalists or Nazis. Those in power in the Kremlin started the war. This is not the Russian people’s war.
“As a matter of fact … what you should know is that 141 nations at the UN voted that Russia was the aggressor.
“They called for it to remove its troops immediately. Only four countries in the entire world voted with Russia. This is a fact.”
Schwarzenegger spoke about how Russian artillery and bombs have destroyed “whole city blocks”, including hospitals, and of the three million refugees who have fled the country.
“It is a humanitarian crisis,” he said.
“Because of its brutality, Russia is now isolated from the society of nations. You’re also not being told the truth about the consequences of this war on Russia itself.
“I regret to tell you that thousands of Russian soldiers have been killed.
“They have been caught between Ukrainians fighting for their homeland and the Russian leadership fighting for conquest.”
He said that both the citizens and soldiers had been lied to by the government, and that the wildly different things they have been told – from going to fight Nazis to particpating in training exercises – were all false.
He then questioned the Russian government’s willingness to sacrifice soldiers for “your own ambitions”, and urged Russians listening to help him spread the truth.
“Let your fellow Russians know the human catastrophe that is happening in Ukraine,” he said.
Schwarzenegger’s message came as Ukrainian cities continued to be bombed, with the capital Kyiv being the target of missiles early on Thursday morning.
The southern city of Mariupol was also the target of heavy attack, with city officials estimating at least 2400 people had died as a result.
According to US authorities, an estimated 28,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded during the three-week invasion.
Image: @schwarzenegger (Instagram)
This article first appeared on OverSixty.