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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 n 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 Centre 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, there is freedom of speech, and there is no and cannot be any criminal liability for criticism of 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 attack by the fact that a neo-Nazi regime had allegedly been established 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 show their faces, insulted the soldiers. He published the video on his pages on YouTube, Telegram, and 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 be under house arrest in Kharkiv, but he was detained in another part of Ukraine: in Zakarpattia Oblast, where Lira tried to cross the border with Hungary.
The Security Service of Ukraine has completed the pre-trial investigation against Gonzalo Lira. Court hearings in his case are scheduled for December 12 and 21. Tucker Carlson got interested in the fate of this person right before the start of the trial because he had never mentioned him before.
The first to respond to the blogger’s detention in May this year was the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Gonzalo Ángel Quintilio Lira López has the citizenship of two states: Chile and the United States of America. After marrying a citizen of Ukraine, Lira lived in Kharkiv for a long time, 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 the propagandists Alina Lipp, Graham Phillips, Patrick Lancaster, who openly work for the Russians, and disseminated the fakes created by them.
SEE ALSO: Foreign Voices of Russian Propaganda
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: shelling, murders, kidnappings. 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 Oblast.
The testimony in the case of Gonzalo Lira was given by the American journalist Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, who has been covering the hostilities in Ukraine since spring 2022, and now serves in the Territorial Defence Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.