Pro-Russia American Blogger Gonzalo Lira Dies In Ukrainian Prison

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Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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YouTuber Gonzalo Lira has died in a Ukrainian prison after being arrested by officials there last year. “We can confirm the death of U.S. citizen Gonzalo Lira in Ukraine. We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss,” a spokesperson for the Department of State told the Daily Caller.

Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson additionally reported on the incident on Twitter, stating that the blogger’s father had confirmed his son’s death. Carlson, who interviewed Lira’s father several weeks ago, criticized the Biden administration claiming they “clearly supported his imprisonment and torture.”

“Gonzalo Lira, Sr. says his son has died at 55 in a Ukrainian prison, where he was being held for the crime of criticizing the Zelensky and Biden governments. Gonzalo Lira was an American citizen, but the Biden administration clearly supported his imprisonment and torture,” Carlson stated.

Lira, 55, had become an outspoken critic of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his country since the start of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, posting videos to YouTube calling Russia’s invasion “one of the most brilliant invasions in military history,” according to The Daily Beast. The Department of State responded to a request into Lira’s reported death, stating that they could “confirm the death of a U.S. citizen in Ukraine.” (RELATED: US Insufficiently Tracked More Than $1 Billion In Weapons For Ukraine, Pentagon Watchdog Finds)

“We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment.”

The blogger, who had been living in Kharkiv at the time, was arrested May 1, 2023 by Ukrainian officials who alleged Lira had produced pro-Russia propaganda, The Daily Beast reported. The foreign authorities claimed Lira had allegedly filmed Ukrainian soldiers, attempting to capture their likeness and discredit their military service, the outlet reported.

A spokesperson for Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), at the time, told The Daily Beast that “the blogger was one of the first to support the Russian invaders and glorify their war crimes… Additionally, in his comments he disputed the details of Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian cities and mass murders of civilians.”

Following a search of his home, the foreign authorities allegedly found additional evidence of unlawful activities from data on both his cell phone and computer, charging him with parts 2 and 3 of article 436-2 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code, pertaining to wartime propaganda, the outlet reported. 

Lira had posted a slew of videos to YouTube defending Russia President Vladimir Putin, with some claiming Russians were taking precautions to avoid damaging civilian infrastructure or harm civilians in Ukraine, according to The Daily Beast. Reportedly after the blogger’s appearance on “The Donbass Devushka,” a pro-Kremlin account, there was additional scrutiny of Lira’s activities, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Russia Used North Korean Missiles In Sweeping Attack Against Ukraine, White House Says)

Lira’s last post to Twitter was in July 2023 stating that he was attempting to get out of Ukraine and seek political asylum in Hungary.  The blogger described in a thread what had happened to him in the “past three months,” claiming that he had been “blocked” by authorities “from calling anyone” including his lawyers.

“Right now, I’m about to try to get out of Ukraine, and seek political asylum in Hungary. Either I’ll cross the border and make it to safety, or I’ll be disappeared by the Kiev regime,” Lira posted. 

“I’m posting this thread just as I’m getting to the border checkpoint. I’m also posting videos on the two channels I have access to, The Roundtable and Gonzalo Lira—Again. If you don’t hear from me in the next 12 hours—whelp! I’m on my way to a labor camp!”

Lira was later arrested again in July after attempting to flee the country and was held in the Kharkiv pretrial detention center,” according to Yahoo News. After receiving word of Lira’s situation, U.S. billionaire and X CEO, Elon Musk, demanded an explanation from Zelenskyy, accusing Ukrainian officials of “torturing Gonzalo Lira in a Ukrainian prison since July, for the crime of criticizing Zelenskyy,” the outlet reported.