Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

In the video, the actor spoke of his affection for the Russian people

A Twitter address by Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Russian people is among the top Twitter trends in Russia on Friday and has sparked reaction from various quarters.

In it, he warns the Russian people they are being fed misinformation about their country's assault on Ukraine.

He says the Kremlin has intentionally lied to them by saying the invasion was intended to "denazify" Ukraine.

Ukraine did not start the war, but "those in power in the Kremlin" did.

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

In the nine-minute video, which shows footage of killings and destruction in Ukraine, the actor-turned-politician calls on people to see through disinformation and propaganda.

"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 says.

"Ukraine did not start this war, neither did nationalists or Nazis," the former California governor says, noting that the country's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish. "This is not the Russian people's war."

The Austrian-born former bodybuilding champion - whose film Red Heat was the first US film shot in Moscow's Red Square - speaks of his affection for the Russian people.

"The strength and the heart of the Russian people have always inspired me," he says. "That is why I hope that you will let me tell you the truth about the war in Ukraine."

He goes on to say: "This is an illegal war. Your lives, your limbs, your futures have been sacrificed for a senseless war condemned by the entire world."

Media caption,

Schwarzenegger: 'I know where Trump's lies lead' (2021 report)

The video has garnered nearly 24 million views and more than 310,000 retweets so far, and is among the top Twitter trends in Russia on Friday morning. Among the actor's Twitter followers are both the Kremlin's Russian- and English-language accounts.

His comments have been praised by Russians who condemn the war.

"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," opposition politician Lev Shlosberg says on Telegram.

Another says: "You have of course seen Schwarzenegger's address. Do you know why it is good? It is indeed filmed with respect towards us, Russian people. We are outcasts in the world and Russophobia that used to be a propaganda myth for years has unfortunately materialised now. Arnold is one of the few people who addressed Russians not as savage orcs, but as good people who have lost their ways," liberal journalist Anton Orekh also said on Telegram.

But a pro-Kremlin spoof account Barack Obmana on Twitter has a different take: "The US State Department thinks that the opinion of paid US talking heads is very important to us. For a certain amount of money, the second half of Hollywood will say... No, it will not - they will be kicked out from everywhere because in the US there are only opinions of Anglo-Saxon Reich, and Arni is dressed up as a Polizei."

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