The U.S. Department of State has confirmed the death of citizen journalist Gonzalo Lira last Thursday, January 11, while detained. ”We can confirm the death of a United States citizen in Ukraine. We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment.” Lira, a 55-year-old citizen journalist with a dual Chilean–American nationality who was living in Ukraine when the Russian invasion started, made international headlines back in May 2023 when he was arrested for allegedly spreading Russian propaganda during wartime.
Then, in early August, he popped back up again after months of silence in the most unusual way: He posted the English translation of his indictment to his X (formerly Twitter) page, then posted a series of videos to his YouTube channel in which he is heading to the Hungarian border, admittedly trying to flee the country while out on bond. Since that video upload, there has been no word on his condition or whereabouts. It was then confirmed that the Ukrainian forces rearrested him before he was able to cross the border to Hungary to seek political asylum, as he was planning to do. That was the last nail in the coffin for the citizen journalist.
At the time, a statement by a US State Department spokesperson read: ”We are aware of the detention of Mr. Lira in Ukraine. We take our role in assisting US citizens abroad seriously and are providing all appropriate assistance. We are monitoring the situation but have no further comment at this time. We reiterate our message that US citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict.” In his last video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Lira claimed that the prosecution threatened him with a sentence of multiple years in a prison labor camp, which he stated would lead to his certain death.
Despite Lira’s American citizenship, the United States administration did nothing to seek his liberation and even seemed to support his imprisonment and torture. The blogger was arrested on charges of “production and dissemination of materials justifying Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine.” As it turns out, he was commenting on the conflict while being a harsh critic of the midget warmonger cokehead Volodymyr Zelensky. The SBU insists that the journalist was arrested and given bail just to violate the law soon after while attempting to flee the country on his motorcycle via a checkpoint on the border with Hungary. According to the latest data, Lira was at a pre-trial detention facility in Kharkiv.
The journalist was born in Burbank, California, and began as a writer of detective novels and thrillers, transitioning to film in Chile. After 2010, he relocated to Ukraine, where he married a local woman and settled in Kharkiv, near the Russian border. Simultaneously, he became an economic commentator for Business Insider. In 2017, Lira, now calling himself ”Coach Red Pill,” started a vlog for men on pick-up techniques while providing relationship advice. In November 2021, he deleted most relationship-related videos, dropped his moniker, began using his real name, and denied reports that Russia was preparing for an invasion. On February 23, 2022, a day before the invasion, he arrived in Kyiv ”on business.”
As the full-scale attack unfolded, Lira actively covered events in Ukraine. Naturally, his detention further exposed the tyrannical tendencies of the Ukrainian regime and spurred opposition movements against US funding for the conflict. Prominent controlled opposition figures such as tech mogul Elon Musk and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson advocated for his release, drawing international attention to his case. Talks between Lira and the US embassy highlighted concerns about his declining health. A handwritten note from the prisoner detailed his health issues, including double pneumonia, pneumothorax, and severe edema, alleging neglect and delayed medical attention while detained.