In early May, American YouTuber and columnist Gonzalo Lira was arrested in Ukraine for criticizing the Zelensky regime and having “publicly justified” the Russian invasion. The Biden administration has yet to address the arrest while continuing to funnel billions of dollars into Ukraine’s war effort.
Lira was born in California and is a dual citizen of the United States and Chile. He had been residing in Kharkiv, Ukraine and was arrested on May 1 for allegedly spreading Russian propaganda that justified Putin’s attack on Ukraine.
The American journalist was charged under sections 2 and 3 of Article 436-2 of Ukraine’s criminal code, which criminalizes the “distribution of materials” justifying Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
In a press release from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Lira is referred to as having “citizenship of one of the countries of Latin America,” but there is no mention of him also being a U.S. citizen.
Lira, if convicted of both charges, faces up to 13 years of imprisonment.
However, the U.S. media is not talking about Lira and very few news outlets have even reported on it at all.
During a recent press conference, a reporter for The Epoch Times, Liam Cosgrove, asked U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller about the Biden administration’s response to Lira’s arrest, to which Miller essentially gave no comment.
“A U.S. citizen who was residing in Ukraine has been arrested… he was a California-born man. He was, in the past, like a Business Insider contributor and he had a YouTube channel,” said Cosgrove.
“He was an outspoken critic of Zelensky’s regime. The Ukrainian SBU released a press release saying he was arrested for justifying Putin’s invasion, so, ultimately it added up to speech,” the reporter continued. “I spoke with Congressman Ted Lieu, a Democrat, and he said he urges the state department to engage its authorities to, you know, work out some sort of negotiation to get him released.”
“Are you guys aware of this?” Cosgrove asked. “How do we feel about our allies, you know, detaining U.S. citizens for speech abroad?”
Miller gave a very brief, vague response to these questions, saying, “So… I will say, in general, that we’re aware of the report. We obviously support the exercise of free speech anywhere in the world, and I’ll leave it at that.”
State Department refuses to say whether it will negotiate with Zelensky for the release of detained U.S. citizen Gonzalo Lira: pic.twitter.com/jTD58XjYnw
— Liam Cosgrove (@cosgrove_iv) May 28, 2023
Meanwhile, Evan Gershovich, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was detained in Russia for speaking out against Putin’s regime. His arrest was converted by mainstream media and recognized by the Biden administration. Joe Biden himself praised Gershkovic for his “absolute courage” in speaking out against Russia.
During a press conference, Miller told reporters, “We once again call on Russia to comply with their obligations to provide consular access to [Gershkovich],” adding that the charges levied against him are “baseless” and that the Biden administration will “continue to call for his immediate release.”