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MOSCOW — Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has become the second Hollywood star to record a video message in support of Ukrainians locked into an increasingly violent struggle against the Eastern European country’s government.
“I want to send a message of support to the people of Ukraine to let them know that I wish them all the best of luck in their peaceful struggle for democracy,” he says in the 11-second video before raising a hand in a two-fingered V symbol, adding: “Peace.”
Looking tanned and relaxed, Schwarzenegger is dressed in a green top and brown leather jacket. The video is filmed against a backdrop of rolling pastures.
Last month, George Clooney recorded a similar brief message of support for Ukrainian protesters.
Both videos were uploaded onto the site of Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko. Vitali, a former world heavyweight boxing champion, is one of the leaders of Ukraine’s opposition. Wladimir, also a boxer, is engaged to actress Hayden Panettiere, star of U.S. TV show Nashville.
He and other members of the opposition are seeking the resignation of president Viktor Yanukovych and fresh elections to resolve a two-month stand-off between protestors who have occupied the center of the capital, Kiev, in a dispute over the failure of the government to keep a promise for closer political and economic ties with the European Union. Instead, Yanukovych has bowed to Russian pressure to stay within the Kremlin’s sphere of influence.
On Saturday, Vitali Klitschko turned down an offer by Yanukovych to take the post of deputy prime minister. He and another opposition leader offered the prime minister’s job said nothing less than Yanukovych’s ouster and new elections would resolve the crisis.
Last month, Yanukovych flew to Moscow to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin, where he accepted a Russian offer of a $15 billion bailout for the cash-strapped former Soviet republic and a cut price deal from its state-owned natural gas monopoly, Gazprom.
The move infuriated people with hopes of moving closer to the EU — perceived as more stable, democratic and fair.
Watch Schwarzenegger’s video message of support below.
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