Calling Russian soldiers to stop fighting `illegal war’, Terminator series actor Arnold Schwarzenegger said “every bullet you shoot, you shoot a brother or a sister”.
In a nine-minute video, Arnold said neither nationalists nor nazis but those in power in the Kremlin started this war. “This is not the Russian people’s war. No. Let me tell you, what you should know is that 141 nations at the UN voted that Russia was the aggressor. They called for it to remove its troops immediately. Only four countries in the entire world voted with Russia. That is a fact,” he said.
The Australian-American actor said 11 million Russians have family connections to Ukraine. “Now to those in power in the Kremlin, let me just ask you, why would you sacrifice those young men for your own ambitions? 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. Every bomb or every shell that falls is falling not on an enemy, but on a school, or a hospital, or a home,” he said.
Addressing Russians, he said their government has lied to them that this is a war to de-Nazify Ukraine.
“De-Nazify Ukraine? This is not true! Ukraine is a country with a Jewish president, a Jewish president I might add, whose father’s three brothers were all murdered by the Nazis. The world has turned against Russia because of its actions in Ukraine. Whole city blocks have been flattened by Russian artillery and bombs, including a children’s hospital and a maternity hospital,” he says, before bringing attention to the devastating refugee crisis the war has caused,” he said.
Arnold said three million Ukrainian refugees, mainly women, children, and elderly, fled their country. “And many more are trying to seek to get out. It is a humanitarian crisis. Because of its brutality, Russia is now isolated from the society of nations,” he said.
Calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “human catastrophe”, the former Governor of California stressed that the Russians fighting against the aggression on the streets of their country, despite the arrests and the jail terms, are his “new heroes”.
Arnold also used personal anecdotes to reach out to Russians. He referred to his meeting with Russian weightlifter Yuri Petrovich Vlasov in 1961. The. He speaks about how Vlasov became his hero after becoming the first person to lift 200 kg over his head. He went home with a picture of his “hero” Vlasov and put it up over his bed for ‘inspiration’ when he started lifting weights. But the photo angered his father, who asked him to take it down and find “a German or an Austrian hero”.
“He didn’t like Russians because of his experience in the Second World War. He was injured at Leningrad where the Nazi army he was part of did vicious harm to the great city and its brave people. But I did not take the photo down. It did not matter to me what flag Yuri Vlasov carried. My connections to Russia didn’t stop there. It deepened when I traveled there,” he said.