Putin Accuses Kiev Regime of Torturing American Journalist to Death

Putin dissed the US for staying silent on the detention and death of US blogger Gonzalo Lira

Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the US administration for not even inquiring about an American journalist who was tortured to death in a Ukrainian prison earlier this year.

Putin addressed reporters Wednesday in Saint Petersburg when asked whether Russian officials would assist with an investigation into a French journalist reportedly killed last month in a missile attack to the west of Artyomovsk (also known as Bakhmut, Ukraine). He offered to facilitate the investigation but also drew a comparison between the reaction to the French journalist’s death and the Biden administration’s response when American blogger Gonzalo Lira was killed in Ukraine earlier this year.

“In a Ukrainian prison, they tortured an American journalist to death, and the US is not even asking what happened to him,” Putin stated. “No one made an attempt to figure out what really happened.”

Lira, a dual US-Chilean citizen who had relocated to Ukraine in 2010, perished in the custody of the Kiev administration in January, reportedly from complications of pneumonia and a collapsed lung. He had been arrested since May 2023 under charges of supporting Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

The US State Department confirmed Lira’s death but declined to provide details on his detention. The journalist’s father, Gonzalo Lira Sr., stated that his son was tortured by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s regime, and US officials “did nothing” to assist him. He added that the journalist could have sealed his fate by criticizing not just Zelensky’s administration but also President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Putin also mentioned that since the beginning of the conflict with Ukraine in February 2022, at least 30 Russian journalists have died in the combat zone. “No one is giving us the opportunity to investigate and determine what happened to them.”

Arman Soldin, employed as a video coordinator for Agence France-Presse, was reportedly killed on May 7 amidst intense fighting around Chasiv Yar. The White House, which remained silent on Lira’s death, paid tribute to the 32-year-old Soldin, stating that “the world is indebted” to journalists who have died while reporting on “the horrors of Russia’s invasion.”