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Schwarzenegger accused of breaking promise on Ukraine by ‘world’s strongest girl’

INTERNATIONAL: Former Arnold Classic powerlifting sensation Maryana Naumova addressed Arnold Schwarzenegger in a video response to the American's message to the Russian people.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's much-publicized message to Russians does not reflect the reality of overdue military action in Ukraine, a former teenage phenomenon at the bodybuilding legend's Arnold Classic has told him while accusing the US over the Gulf War.

Maryana Naumova said she handed Schwarzenegger letters and evidence of turmoil in Ukraine when she met him after bench-pressing 330lb at the Classic as a 15-year-old in 2015.

Now an influencer, Naumova claims Schwarzenegger gave the materials to an assistant and assured her that he would "work on" what she describes as attacks on citizens by the Ukrainian army and neo-Nazis.

In a video message to Schwarzenegger, the Master of Sports of Russia explained that she had been to Ukraine more than 20 times since 2014.

Two regions in the historic mining area of Donbas declared independence from Kyiv in April 2014, leading to the Ukrainian government launching what it called an “anti-terrorist operation" in response to the formation of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR).

New 'battalions' of volunteer fighters – many with nationalist backgrounds – accompanied the troops sent to deal with the rebels.

Months of fighting ensued, including heavy shelling in the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk and civilian casualties and heavy losses reported on both sides.

Kyiv and the Donbas forces accused each other of war crimes. The Ukrainian government claimed Russia had directed the “aggression", although Moscow insisted its troops never entered the Donbas.

"I have visited more than 120 schools, talked to thousands of children, held more than 100 children's sports events even though I am an ordinary Russian girl, not an iron, fearless 'Terminator' warrior," said Naumova, referring to arguably Schwarzenegger's best-known film character.

"You say that there is no Nazism in Ukraine, you tell about the Jewish President of Ukraine [Volodymyr Zelensky] and say that Russian bombs are allegedly destroying Ukraine now.

"Arnold, sometimes it is very difficult to understand, being thousands and thousands of kilometers away from us, but you still have those letters and photos from 2015, don't you? In fact, you could just come and see everything in person – you are a brave man."

Issuing his message last week, Schwarzenegger voiced his admiration for Russians and said his aim was to speak the "truth" about what he described as an illegal and senseless war that had been condemned worldwide.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that one of the aims of the attack is to target Nazis in Ukraine, but Schwarzenegger strongly questioned the validity of that argument and suggested that Russian citizens did not agree with the decision to start the attack on February 24.

"Obviously, you didn't work on the letters I gave you, even though you promised," Naumova told the former Governor of California, adding that the Alley of Angels memorial in Donetsk is a memorial to children "killed by bullets and bombs of the Ukrainian army."

"Your message is based on some other invented reality. The reality is, Arnold, that your 'Terminator' not only did not protect but did not help, did not save the children of Donbas, did not read their letters and try to understand the situation."

The former world champion powerlifter, dubbed the 'world’s strongest girl’ by some media outlets in the aftermath of her athletic feats, has said that Russia should have acted in the region eight years ago.

She also responded to Schwarzenegger's remarks about his father, who was among Nazi German troops to have attacked Putin's birth city of St. Petersburg – then Leningrad – during World War Two.

"You tell about your father, who did not like Nazis and who, along with the Nazis, came with weapons to my Russian – then Soviet – land," she said, appearing to then refer to reports that Schwarzenegger offered US military personnel fitness advice during the US coalition-led war in Iraq in 1990 and 1991.

"Haven't you visited American soldiers in Iraq? You taught them to train and keep fit during Operation Desert Storm.

"I'm not asking what your American military was doing in Iraq at that time and why they ruined that country – probably your government knows better.

"But I would like to remind you: your family once was already deceived by Nazism and your father came to my homeland with a gun, killing and maiming my compatriots.

"It was this mistake that caused your poor childhood. It was because of this mistake that your father did not like Russians until the end of his life.

"[Nazi leader Adolf] Hitler got what he deserved then – but, after so many years, his ideological heirs are raising their heads again.

"I would like to remind you that you yourself once admired Hitler, after which you repented for a long time.

"But those in Ukraine who admire Hitler's collaborators, such as [early 20th-century ultra-nationalist politician] Stepan Bandera, are far from repenting."

Schwarzenegger once admitted in an autobiography that he appreciated Hitler as a speaker but has always denied allegations that he admires the former German leader.

Naumova, who has also told her thousands of Instagram followers that "no-one wants war", said that more than 14,000 civilians have been killed since the current Ukrainian government came to power.

She added that cities had been renamed after Nazi criminals and said Ukraine had been "subjugated" into an "uncontrollable monster".

"Russophobia is as terrible as anti-Semitism," she said, calling Ukraine a danger to all of its neighbors.

"Russia's special military operation has no purpose to destroy the Ukrainian people. It is aimed at neo-Nazis."

Zelenskyy has called Putin's statements about Nazism in Ukraine "laughable". The Russian head of state underlined his views when he appeared at a rally last week under a banner of 'for a world without Nazism."

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