Arnold Schwarzenegger has made a heartfelt appeal to ordinary Russians about the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
The 74-year-old actor turned politician recorded a 10-minute speech in which he debunked Kremlin propaganda, in an effort to shed light on the true extent of Russia’s “senseless” invasion.
In a statement that Schwarzenegger shared on his Twitter profile, the former Governor of California explained that he ‘loved the Russian people,’ and that is why he wanted to tell them the truth.
The video, which has since been viewed over 2 million times, features Schwarzenegger sitting in his office and directly calling on Russian citizens and soldiers to look beyond the ‘lies’ of Putin. English and Russian subtitles are available throughout.
As well as reflecting on the ‘strength’ of the Russian people, and his experiences in the country, Schwarzenegger explained: “There are things going on in the world that are being kept from you, terrible things that you should know about”.
He went on: “No-one likes to hear anything critical about their government, I understand that, but as a long-time friend of the Russian people, I hope that you will hear what I have to say.
“There are moments like this that are so wrong and then we have to speak up. I know that your government has told you that this is a war to denazify Ukraine, this is not true. Ukraine is a country with a Jewish president whose father’s three brothers were all murdered by the Nazis.
“You see, Ukraine did not start this war. Neither did nationalists or Nazis. Those in power in the Kremlin started this war. This is not the Russian people’s war.”
Schwarzenegger, who has visited Russia on several occasions throughout his life, went on to speak about Russian artillery and bombs flattening entire Ukrainian cities, as well as the loss of life on both sides.
“The world has turned against Russia because of its actions in Ukraine, whole city blocks have been flattened by Russian artillery and bombs, including a children’s hospital and a maternity hospital.”
“It is a humanitarian crisis. You’re also not being told the truth about the consequences of this war on Russia. 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.”
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
He added: “The Russian Government has lied not only to its citizens, but to its soldiers. This is an illegal war, your lives, your limbs are being sacrificed for a senseless war condemned by the entire world.”
The former television star also shared the video on his Telegram page in a further attempt to spread the message. Since Putin’s troops invaded Ukraine, the Kremlin has fought to silence dissidents and has already banned Facebook and Instagram.
Schwarzenegger is one of a growing list of well-known figures that have publicly denounced the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Despite ongoing peace talks, brutal Russian shelling continues across Ukrainian cities. Buildings hit in recent days included a historic theatre in the city of Mariupol which was thought to be sheltering hundreds of citizens.