Arnold Schwarzenegger, the bodybuilder and actor who later became the Governor of California, said on Thursday to Russian people that they were being fed misinformation about the attack on Ukraine and appealed to President Vladimir Putin to stop. 

In his nine-minute video, Schwarzenegger went on to say that Kremlin was lying to Russians intentionally about their intent to “denazify” Ukraine. Thus far, Putin’s government has labelled its actions in Ukraine as a “special operation”. 

The former Mr Olympian said “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”, and added, “I know that your government has told you this is a war to de-Nazify Ukraine. This is not true. De-Nazify Ukraine? It is a country with a Jewish president—a Jewish president, I might add, whose father’s three brothers were all murdered by the Nazis. Ukraine did not start this war. Neither did nationalists or Nazis. Those in power in the Kremlin started this civil war; this is not the Russian people’s war”. 

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Notably, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky initially questioned Putin on his motives to “denazify” a country whose leader is Jewish. The war in Ukraine has been Europe’s biggest invasion since World War II and has seen over three million refugees fleeing to other countries as cities have been destroyed. 

With the global community condemning Putin’s actions and imposing sanctions on Russia, while there were anti-war protests at home, a law was passed promising imprisonment for sharing fake news about the Russian military. Moreover, access to sites and media channels have been restricted for Russians, allowing them limited information about the events in Ukraine. 

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Schwarzenegger also addressed this saying, “I don’t think the Russian people are aware that such things are happening. So I urge the Russian people and the Russian soldiers in Ukraine to understand the propaganda and the disinformation that you are being told”, and also praised anti-war protestors. He said, “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’ve been beaten. You are my new heroes…You have the true heart of Russia”.