Speed Reads

'This is not the Russian people's war'

Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks directly to Russians in 9-minute video appeal: 'Ukraine did not start this war'

Actor, bodybuilder, and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday released a nine-minute, prerecorded message to the people of Russia and Russian soldiers, calling for an end to the war in Ukraine while broadcasting truths he's sure the Kremlin's been hiding.

"I am speaking to you today because there are things that are going on in the world that are being kept from you, terrible things that you should know about," Schwarzenegger, who has a large Russian following, began.

"Ukraine did not start this war. Neither did nationalists or Nazis," he went on, citing propaganda employed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Those in power in the Kremlin started this war. This is not the Russian people's war."

Schwarzenegger then referenced the United Nations vote in which Russia was overwhelmingly determined the aggressor in the conflict, leading to its isolation from the society of nations. He flagged that the consequences of this war mean not only a loss of Ukrainian life, but a loss of Russian life, as well. Kremlin troops have been lied to, and "those who don't deserve it, on both sides of the war, will suffer," Schwarzenegger said.

"To the Russian soldiers listening to this broadcast, you already know much of the truth that I've been speaking. You have seen it with your own eyes. I don't want you to be broken like my father," he said. "This is not the war to defend Russia that your grandfathers or great-grandfathers fought. This is an illegal war."

To Putin himself, Schwarzenegger issued yet another direct appeal: "You started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war," he said.

But as for those brave Russians protesting the violence? "You have the true heart of Russia," Schwarzenegger concluded.