"Terminator" star Arnold Schwarzenegger appealed to Vladimir Putin on Thursday to end the "senseless" war in Ukraine and praised Russians protesting the conflict as his "new heroes", AFP reported.
"Ukraine did not start this war," the former California governor said in an emotional message to the people of Russia and Russian troops posted to his Twitter account and other platforms.
"I'm speaking to you today because there are things going on in the world that are being kept from you, terrible things that you should know about," he added in the nine-minute video that was subtitled in Russian.
"The strength and the heart of the Russian people have always inspired me," he said. "That is why I hope that you will let me tell you the truth about the war in Ukraine."
"I know that your government has told you that this is a war to 'de-Nazify' Ukraine," continued Schwarzenegger. "This is not true. Those in power in the Kremlin started this war. This is not the Russian people's war."
Schwarzenegger said "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.
"Because of its brutality, Russia is now isolated from the society of nations," he continued.
In an appeal to Russian troops, Schwarzenegger recalled the wounds suffered by his father while fighting for the Nazis in Russia during World War II.
"He was broken physically and mentally and lived the rest of his life in pain," he said. "To the Russian troops listening to this broadcast... I don't want you to be broken like my father."
"This is not the war to defend Russia that your grandfathers or your great-grandfathers fought," continued Schwarzenegger. "This is an illegal war. Your lives, your limbs, your futures have been sacrificed for a senseless war condemned by the entire world."
Addressing Putin directly, Schwarzenegger said, "You started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war."
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken later shared Schwarzenegger’s video and wrote, “We are not just witnessing a brutal, violent Kremlin-led attack on the Ukrainian people, we are witnessing a war of the truth vs. tyranny. As Schwarzenegger explains, we do not blame the people of Russia, and we need you to know what your government is hiding from you.”