Chilean-American blogger Gonzalo Lira was last heard from in Ukraine almost a week ago. He was reporting from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov and has been a critic of President Volodymyr Zelensky and of Ukraine’s conduct during the conflict.
The Chilean foreign ministry said that it was aware that “those close to the Chilean Gonzalo Lira Lopez, who was in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov,” had lost contact with him since April 15. According to the diplomats, they remained in touch “with the relevant entities, to stay informed regarding any news about the location of [our] compatriot.”
Lira, who is a Chilean-American author and movie maker who used to work in Hollywood, was to appear on former UK MP George Galloway’s radio show Mother of All Talk Shows (MOATS) on Sunday, but ended up missing the program.
“It’s with great regret and even greater sense of concern and anxiety and more, that I have to tell you that there is still no sign of our first guest Gonzalo Lira,” Galloway said on his show.
Other independent journalists, including Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal, have also sounded the alarm over the blogger’s disappearance and have expressed fears he could have been kidnapped, even tortured. They have added, however, that this wasn’t confirmed or verified.
Lira has been living in Ukraine for the last several years. After the start of the Russian military operation, he moved from capital Kiev to Kharkov in the east of the country to do his reporting from there.
The 54-year-old has been a staunch critic of Zelensky and Ukraine’s conduct during the conflict, speaking about far-right tendencies among the Ukrainian military and debunking what he saw as false reports by Kiev about events on the ground. He was active on YouTube, posting under the nickname ‘Coach Red Pill,’ as well as on Telegram and Twitter.