Arnold Schwarzenegger says being grandfather is ‘the easiest thing’
Jimmy Kimmel Live

Arnold Schwarzenegger has spoken about his “broken” Nazi father in an address to the Russian people regarding the invasion of Ukraine.

The actor posted an extended video of himself urging the country’s people to understand the “truth” of the conflict and see past the propaganda claiming Russia was ‘denazifing Ukraine’ by attacking the country.

“The strength and the heart of the Russian people have always inspired me. That is why I hope that you will let me tell you the truth about the war in Ukraine and what is happening there,” the 74-year-old said.

“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.”

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He then spoke about his father, recalling the time he questioned his admiration of champion Russian weightlifter Yuri Petrovich Vlasov – telling him to take down a poster in his room and “find a German or Austrian hero” instead.

“But I did not take down the photograph, because it didn’t matter to me what flag Yuri Vlasov carried,” Schwarzenegger said.

“[My father] was injured at Leningrad and the Nazi army he was part of did vicious harm to the great city and to its brave people. When my father arrived in Leningrad, he was all pumped up on the lies of his government…

“When he left Leningrad, he was broken – physically and mentally. He lived the rest of his life in pain. Pain from a broken back, pain from the shrapnel that always reminded him of those terrible years. And pain from the guilt that he felt.”

He went on to say: “To the Russian soldiers listening to this broadcast, you already know much of the truth that I’m speaking. You’ve seen it in your own eyes. I don’t want you to be broken like my father.”

Later on, the actor posted a message thanking his Russian followers who had got in touch.

"I want to thank every single one of you who shared this video. I have heard from fans in Russia so I know it is breaking through. Keep pushing," he said.

It comes more than two weeks since the conflict in Ukraine began. This morning an aircraft repair plant was hit by Russian missiles fired this morning at the city of Lviv, in western Ukraine as fighting continues.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.

  • To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here.
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