White House Echoes State Dept. Silence On US Journalist Gonzalo Lira’s Arrest In Ukraine

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 White House Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby on Friday echoed his State Department colleague Matthew Miller’s silence on the issue of US journalist Gonzalo Lira Lopez, who was arrested in Ukraine in May.

“I don’t have anything more to add on Mr. Lira that you asked. I would refer to the State (Department) and I couldn’t go beyond where they are on that,” Kirby said during a press briefing.

In May, Miller admitted that the United States is aware of reports about Lira‘s arrest but refused to say whether the Biden administration is going to take any steps to help release the detained journalist.

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The arrest is Lira‘s second in slightly more than a year. The California-born journalist and dual citizen of the United States and Chile was first arrested by the Ukrainian authorities in April 2022 for allegedly denying “Russian aggression” and allegedly spreading false narratives about the conflict in Ukraine.

Lira has been an outspoken critic of the Ukrainian and US governments concerning corruption, support for Neo-Nazis and other extremists, the military industrial complex and the policy of forever wars, human rights abuses and the conflict with Russia.

Lira was released several days after being arrested the first time but now faces a prison term of 13 years, according to his father Gonzalo Lira Sr.

Unlike the case of US reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is detained in Russia on charges of espionage, the State Department and the White House have not taken any action to help free Lira or start a legal procedure to recognize him as being wrongfully detained.

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