(Reuters) – Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday told the Russian people that they are being fed misinformation about their country’s assault on Ukraine and appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the attack.
The Hollywood star said in the nine-minute video on Twitter that the Kremlin was intentionally lying to Russians by saying the invasion was intended to “denazify” Ukraine. Russia describes its actions as a “special operation.”
“Ukraine did not start this war, neither did nationalists or Nazis,” he said, noting the country’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is Jewish. “This is not the Russian people’s war.”
Europe’s biggest invasion since World War Two has ravaged Ukrainian cities and sent more than 3 million refugees fleeing to neighboring countries.
It is unclear how much people in Russia know about the war after the Kremlin cut access to various media channels and websites.
Schwarzenegger asked Russians to spread the word about the “human catastrophe” and told Russian protesters the world is watching.
“The world has seen your bravery. We know you have suffered the consequences of your courage,” he said. “You are my new heroes.”
The 74-year-old Republican, who started as a bodybuilder before reaching worldwide fame in action films, called on Putin to stop the invasion. He said thousands of Russian soldiers have been killed while their leaders have lied to them.
“Your lives, your limbs, your futures have been sacrificed for a senseless war,” he told Russian soldiers, saying his father had similar experiences as an Austrian soldier during World War Two.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)