Chilean journalist Gonzalo Lira is alive after going missing in Ukraine for over a week. Rumors circulated that Lira had been killed after a Daily Beast journalist revealed his location in Kharkov, though such rumblings appear to be dispelled after he appeared on a livestream.
Gonzalo Lira was missing for a little over a week after his social media followers last heard from him on Friday, April 15. The Chilean journalist is known for quick replies and updates, according to those familiar with him, which raised immediate red flags after he went dark on social media.
Lira has been critical of the Ukrainian government for a number of reasons, though he has repeatedly stated that he is not “on Russia’s side.” Rather, he wants to report the events on the ground as he sees them unfolding, regardless of how his reporting will be viewed by either the Ukrainian or Russian government.
The Chilean has been critical of Zelensky’s government for political suppression tactics employed by federal law enforcement, which has escalated as a result of the war. He has also criticized Russian bombing tactics.
In late March, Zelensky’s government suspended 11 opposition parties accused of having “pro-Russian” stances. Similar action was taken against opposition media outlets a day later. Most recently, Zelensky’s government detained Viktor Medvedchuk, who is the former leader of Ukraine’s largest opposition party.
Gonzalo Lira has also accused the Ukrainian government of lying about the situation on the front in order to keep morale high. For these reasons, and his willingness to speak on them, the journalist told his Twitter followers that he had reason to believe he would be targeted.
You want to learn the truth about the Zelensky regime? Google these names:
Mikhail & Aleksander Kononovich
If you haven’t heard from me in 12 hours or more, put my name on this list.
— Gonzalo Lira (@realGonzaloLira) March 26, 2022
Lira was feared dead after a male-to-female transgender source affiliated with the Daily Beast revealed his location in a recent exposé. The Daily Beast used a source, Sarah Ashton, was enthusiastic as rumors of Lira’s death circulated the internet.
But on April 22, Gonzalo Lira appeared on a livestream with Alex Christoforou where he confirmed that he is in fact alive. “Gonzalo Lira, [it is] Friday April 22, 2022. I am in Kharkov, I’m OK. I just wanna say that I’m back online,” Lira said. “I just wanna say that I’m fine physically. I’m a little rattled, I was picked up by the SBU on Friday, April 15, a little after 1 pm local time.”
Lira then thanked people who took an interest in his safety but added that there are numerous other journalists who are currently in danger while in Ukraine. He pointed to the pinned tweet in his Twitter feed, which is embedded above, and said that “those people matter more” as some of them are still missing.
The status of Gonzalo Lira was hardly covered by U.S. and European media outlets while the Chilean journalist was still missing.