On Thursday, actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger posted a video message on Twitter addressed to his “dear Russian friends” to warn them about the lies they’re being told regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The Russian government has lied not only to its citizens, but to its soldiers. Some of the soldiers were told they were going to fight Nazis. Some were told that the Ukrainian people would greet them like heroes. And some were told that they were simply going on exercises. They didn’t even know that they were going into war. Some were told that they were there to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine. None of this is true,” Schwarzenegger said. “The fact is that Russian soldiers have faced fierce resistance from the Ukrainians who want to protect their families and their country.”
“When I see babies being pulled out of ruins, I think that I’m watching a documentary about the horrors of the Second World War, not the news of today.”
Schwarzenegger compared the Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine to Nazi soldiers in World War II, including his father, who he said was “all pumped up on the lies of his government” which ultimately left him “broken, physically and mentally.”
“He lived the rest of his life in pain. Pain from a broken back. Pain from the shrapnel that always reminded him of those terrible years. And pain from the guilt that he felt,” Schwarzenegger said of his father. “To the Russian soldiers listening to this broadcast: you already know much of the truth that I have been speaking. You have seen it with your own eyes. I don’t want you to be broken like my father.”
“This is not the war to defend Russia that your grandfathers or your great-grandfathers fought. This is an illegal war. Your lives, your limbs, your futures are being sacrificed for a senseless war condemned by the entire world.”
Schwarzenegger then asked Russian leaders in the Kremlin, “Why would you sacrifice those young men for your own ambitions?”
He said he knows that the “Russian people are not aware” of the terrible things that are taking place in Ukraine, like the bombing of a maternity hospital. He urged the Russian people and soldiers to “understand the propaganda and the disinformation that you are being told.”
“I ask you to help me spread the truth. Let your fellow Russians know the human catastrophe that is happening in Ukraine,” he continued. “And to President Putin, I say: You started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war.”
“Let me close with a message to all of the Russians who have been protesting in the streets against the invasion of Ukraine. The world has seen your bravery. We know that you have suffered the consequences of your courage. You have been arrested. You have been jailed. And you have been beaten. You are my new heroes,” Schwarzenegger said. “You have the strength of Yuri Petrovich Vlasov. You have the true heart of Russia. My dear Russian friends: may God bless you all.