In a response to a Twitter post from Mr. Ketchell sharing Mr. Schwarzenegger’s video, Rob Flaherty, the White House director of digital strategy, called the statement “really, really remarkable.”
Mr. Ketchell said, however, that the video was made without the knowledge or involvement of President Biden’s administration, which has approached other social media influencers with requests to help combat disinformation.
“This came from Arnold’s heart, not the government,” Mr. Ketchell said.
Like many high-profile figures, Mr. Schwarzenegger initially expressed sympathy and solidarity with the Ukrainian people in the immediate aftermath of the Russian attack, but had otherwise refrained from commenting extensively on the situation. As the situation has worsened, Mr. Ketchell said, the celebrity has been inundated on social media with pleas, particularly from Europe, to leverage his platform.
He said the war also was weighing on Mr. Schwarzenegger personally. The former governor, born in Austria, refers in the video to the traumatic war experience of his father, who fought with the Nazi army when it attacked Leningrad during World War II.
Late last week after conversations with a number of friends and advisers, Mr. Ketchell said, Mr. Schwarzenegger decided to deliver an address like the one he had posted last year, condemning efforts by the American right wing to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Those remarks garnered more than 70 million page views.
In his remarks about Ukraine, which were also posted on Telegram, where many Russians can still access information blocked by the government, Mr. Schwarzenegger called the invasion an “illegal war” and a “human catastrophe,” and told Russian soldiers that “your lives, your limbs, your futures are being sacrificed for a senseless war being condemned by the entire world.”