Ukraine: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s anti-war video trends on Russian social media

A video address by Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Russian people was trending on Russian Twitter on Friday and has sparked reaction.

In it, Schwarzenegger warns Russians they are being fed misinformation about their country’s assault on Ukraine.

Addressing Russian President Vladimir Putin directly, he says: “You started this war, and you can stop it”.

His intervention has been praised by Russians who oppose the war in Ukraine.

Writing on the Telegram app, opposition politician Lev Shlosberg said it had been filmed “with respect towards us, Russian people”.

“Arnold Schwarzenegger has a unique ability to talk to anyone with persuasion, respect and on equal terms. Wits, power and justice. Have a listen. Think about it. Understand,” Mr Shlosberg said.

Also on Telegram, liberal journalist Anton Orekh said his message contained no “Russophobia”.

“We are outcasts in the world.. Arnold is one of the few people who addressed Russians not as savage orcs, but as good people who have lost their ways,” Mr Orekh said.

But a pro-Kremlin spoof account, Barack Obmana on Twitter, derided it, saying “the opinion of paid US talking heads” mattered little to Russians.

Russia has consistently said the war in Ukraine was a “special operation” to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians.

But in his video, Schwarzenegger said the Kremlin was lying to Russians when it said the invasion was intended to “denazify” Ukraine.

Ukraine did not start the war, but “those in power in the Kremlin” did, he said.

By 13:00 GMT the video had been viewed nearly 25m times and had been retweeted 325,000 times.

Schwarzenegger is one of the few accounts followed by the Kremlin’s official Russian- and English-language Twitter accounts.

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