What’s wrong with pro-Russian blogger Gonzalo Lira

What’s wrong with pro-Russian blogger Gonzalo Lira

The Center for Strategic Communication explains the issue with a pro-Russian blogger, Gonzalo Lira, for whom Tucker Carlson and Elon Musk stood up.

Tucker Carlson, a former TV presenter who was fired from Fox News in April 2023, once again made a number of claims against Ukraine in his new video blog on social network X. This time, he accused the Security Service of Ukraine of arresting and “torturing” U.S. citizen Gonzalo Lira for allegedly “the crime of criticizing Zelensky.”

Elon Musk, the owner of the social network X, who apparently trusted the information mentioned in the blog, supported Carlson and publicly appealed to the president of Ukraine.

“An American citizen is in prison in Ukraine after we sent over $100 billion? Is there more to this story than simply criticizing Zelensky? If that’s all it is, then we have serious problem here,” Musk wrote.

The Center for Strategic Communication and Information Security explains why Gonzalo Lira was detained in Ukraine and why he will be tried.

Firstly, in Ukraine, even under martial law, freedom of speech is respected, and there is no and cannot be any criminal liability for criticizing the president. Therefore, the accusation that Lira or someone else was “jailed for criticizing Zelensky” is an outright manipulation.

Secondly, Gonzalo Lira is accused not of “criticizing Zelensky,” but of justifying Russian aggression against Ukraine (Article 436-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). The investigation found that Lira:

●     publicly justified the Russian invasion by claiming that a 'neo-Nazi regime' had allegedly been set up in Ukraine;

●     denied the facts of Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian cities, massacres of civilian Ukrainians by Russian invaders in Bucha and other cities;

●     in spring 2022, Lira personally filmed the Ukrainian military, tried to expose their faces, and insulted the soldiers. He published the video on YouTube, Telegram, and the-then Twitter.

Thirdly, Gonzalo Lira is currently in custody only because he violated the terms of his bail and tried to escape Ukrainian justice. The blogger was supposed to remain under house arrest in Kharkiv, but he was detained in another part of Ukraine: in Zakarpattia region, where Lira attempted to cross out into Hungary.

The Security Service of Ukraine has completed the pre-trial investigation against Gonzalo Lira. Court hearings in thecase are scheduled for December 12 and 21. Tucker Carlson got interested in the fate of this individual right before the start of the trial. He had never mentioned this journalist before in his public appearances.

The first to respond to the blogger’s detention in May 2023 was the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Gonzalo Ángel Quintilio Lira López holds a dual citizenship of Chile and the United States of America. After marrying a citizen of Ukraine, Lira has long lived in Kharkiv, recording video blogs.

Since 2022, Lira has focused on spreading Russian propaganda and disinformation and engaged in information support of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Lira was quoted by Russian propaganda media and Donbass Devushka’s account exposed by U.S. intelligence agencies in April 2023 after the publication of classified Pentagon documents.

Gonzalo Lira in his publications openly supported such propagandists as Alina Lipp, Graham Phillips, Patrick Lancaster, who openly work for the Russians, and circulated fakes stories they had published earlier.

In addition, Lira tried to spy on American journalists covering the war in Ukraine and publish their addresses. This put U.S. citizens at risk, as hundreds of crimes of the Russian military against journalists were recorded in Ukraine, including targeted strikes, assassinations, and abductions. The first foreign journalist to die in the full-scale war was American Brent Renaud. The Russian military shot him on March 13, 2022, in the occupied Irpin, Kyiv region.

The testimony in the case of Gonzalo Lira was given by American journalist Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, who has been covering the hostilities in Ukraine since spring 2022, and now serves with the Territorial Defence Forces of Ukraine.

Center for Strategic Communication and Information Security

While citing and using any materials on the Internet, links to the website ukrinform.net not lower than the first paragraph are mandatory. In addition, citing the translated materials of foreign media outlets is possible only if there is a link to the website ukrinform.net and the website of a foreign media outlet. Materials marked as "Advertisement" or with a disclaimer reading "The material has been posted in accordance with Part 3 of Article 9 of the Law of Ukraine "On Advertising" No. 270/96-VR of July 3, 1996 and the Law of Ukraine "On the Media" No. 2849-Х of March 31, 2023 and on the basis of an agreement/invoice.

© 2015-2024 Ukrinform. All rights reserved.

Website design Studio Laconica

Extended searchHide extended search
By period: