Ukraine crisis: 'You started this war, you can stop it,' says Arnold Schwarzenegger to Russian President Putin

Washington (US):

Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger shared a passionate nine-minute video on social media urging Russian citizens and military members, in particular, to hear “the truth.”

The former governor of California said he wanted to dispel information and urged for Russia’s government, military and citizens to end the ongoing violence, Fox News reported.

“The strength and the heart of the Russian people have always inspired me,” the 74-year-old 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,” he stated.

Citing Yuri Petrovich Vlasov, a champion weightlifter from Russia as one of his childhood idols, Schwarzenegger described how his father Gustav Schwarzenegger, a member of the Nazi party who served in World War II, became angry when he hung a picture of Vlasov in his room.

“My father told me to take down the picture and to find a German or Austrian hero. But I did not take down the photograph, because it didn’t matter to me what flag Yuri Vlasov carried,” Schwarzenegger recalled.

Further, Schwarzenegger shot down claims made by Russia that the purpose of their invasion was to “denazify Ukraine.” 

“The world has turned against Russia because of its actions in Ukraine. The destruction that Russian bombs are raining down on innocent civilians has so outraged the world that the strongest global economic sanctions ever taken have been imposed on your country … This is not the war to defend Russia like your grandfather or your great-grandfather fought. This is an illegal war,” he said.

“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. To those in power in the Kremlin, let me just ask you: Why would you sacrifice these young men for your own ambition? … To President Putin, I say: You started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war.”

Russian forces launched military operations in Ukraine on February 24, three days after Moscow recognized Ukraine’s breakaway regions, Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics followed by the announcement of a “special military operation” to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine.

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