The man who made his name synonymous with action movies during the late stages of the Cold War made an impassioned plea for peace in Ukraine Thursday. With the Russian invasion now three weeks old, and countless lives either upturned or ended altogether, Arnold Schwarzenegger released a nine-minute video on Twitter, in which he calls upon Russia's government, military, and citizens to put an end to the violence.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Makes Passionate Plea To Russians: 'You Can Stop This War'
In his statement, Schwarzenegger brought up his personal admiration for the Russian people.
He recalled how, as a boy, he idolized Russian weightlifter Yuri Petrovich Vlasov, hanging a photo of him in his room — much to the chagrin of his father, a Nazi party member who had served in WWII.
"My father told me to take down the picture and to find a German or Austrian hero," Schwarzenegger said. "But I did not take down the photograph, because it didn't matter to me what flag Yuri carried."
And in that spirit, the former Governor of California directly addressed the Russian people.
"The strength and the heart of the Russian people have always inspired me," Schwarzenegger said. "That is why I hope that you will let me tell you the truth about the war in Ukraine and what is happening there. No one likes to hear something critical of 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."
To set the record straight about some disinformation and propaganda, Schwarzenegger shared images of burned out buildings, innocent civilians sheltering from bombs, and refugees parting from their loved ones to flee the violence.
And he also made a direct plea to the Russian military. "To the soldiers who are listening to this, remember that 11 million Russians have family connections to Ukraine – so every bullet you shoot, you shoot a brother or a sister."
"And to President Putin, I say: You started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war."
Schwarzenegger also made sure to praise those Russians who have already bravely protested the invasion.
"To all of the Russians who have been protesting in the streets against the invasion of Ukraine: the world has seen your bravery," he said. "We know 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. ... You have the true heart of Russia."
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