Update(1336ET): The controversial American transgender spokesperson for Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces Sarah Ashton-Cirillo (born Michael Cirillo) has been suspended indefinitely by the Ukrainian military, also pending an investigation. According to an official Ukrainian military statement, Ashton-Cirillo's recent statements regarding "hunting down" dissidents and "propagandists" were not approved...
2/3 The statements of JSgt Ashton-Cirillo in recent days were not approved by the command of the TDF or the command of the AFU. When conducting military operations against the aggressor, the defense forces of Ukraine strictly observe the norms of international humanitarian law.— Ukraine Territorial Defense Forces (@TDF_UA) September 20, 2023
3/3 The command of the TDF will conduct an official investigation into the circumstances of these statements. Appropriate decisions would be taken.— Ukraine Territorial Defense Forces (@TDF_UA) September 20, 2023
Sergeant Sarah Ashton-Cirillo will be suspended immediately pending the investigation.
And it's additionally been confirmed by the country's Defense Ministry:
As we detailed below, Ashton-Cirillo had within the last days been in a verbal fight with influential Republican Senator J.D. Vance.
Given the "hunting down" video had been online for well over a week, and Kiev did nothing, the timing of the suspension by Ukraine's military seems more out of concern for Zelensky's lobbying efforts in D.C. than anything else.
Zelensky is about to visit the White House, and will also seek to lobby GOP holdouts and fence-sitters in Congress to approve billions more in defense aid for Ukraine. This is likely the real reason for Ashton-Cirillo being dismissed: Zelensky didn't want the controversy hanging over his head in Washington, especially after Sen. Vance wrote a letter demanding answers to top White House defense and intelligence officials.
Ukraine's military has long been employing a disturbed American, @SarahAshtonLV, as its English spokesperson.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 20, 2023
We covered last week their insane, deranged threats to hunt down and punish all "Russian propagandists," meaning anyone (including Americans) critical of Ukraine: pic.twitter.com/7TaXdOoejr
Also, was only this week that the following bizarre and embarrassing scene played out in Las Vegas City Hall...
You can't make this up!— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) September 19, 2023
Transgender military spokesman for Ukraine who now goes by Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, was just honored by Las Vegas city hall. He was also given certificates of recognition by US Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Rep. Dina Titus, and former Nevada Gov Steve… pic.twitter.com/9NxKzpBBsF
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The American man masquerading as a "female" spokesperson for the Ukrainian military has decided to pick a fight with a sitting American senator.
Senator JD Vance of Ohio has made formal inquiry as to whether Sarah Ashton-Cirillo (born Michael John Cirillo) is being funded by the US government or has ties to the US intelligence community.
To everyone asking: Yes, this is real.— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) September 18, 2023
This is the English language spokesman for the Ukrainian armed forces.
This same person posted a video last week threatening violence against anyone who engaged in speech the Ukrainians deemed bad propaganda. Disgusting. https://t.co/X9Y3hHZoVe
Sen. Vance has sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, toward that end of seeking information.
Last week a viral video by Ashton-Cirillo saw him declare on behalf of the Territorial Defense Forces of Ukraine that Russia's "propagandists" will be "hunted down" around the world.
Revealingly, this was said just as an American journalist, Gonzalo Lira, was due in Ukrainian court on vague charges of "justifying Russia's aggression." That video sparked frenzy and anger online, given it seemed an open threat to journalists or anyone that doesn't toe a pro-Ukrainian line on any given issue related to the war.
Fireworks ensued as Sen. Vance and Ashton-Cirillo went back and forth...
Since I’ve got your attention, are you/Ukraine still planning to kill people who engage in speech you don’t like? And are there any American citizens on the kill list? https://t.co/x2H8nrChXH— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) September 18, 2023
Vance's letter to top US defense and intelligence officials stated in part:
"In recent days, a video has circulated of an individual who claims to be an English-speaking spokesperson for the Ukrainian military. In the video, this individual, Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, looks directly into the camera and threatens physical violence to anyone who circulates ‘Russian propaganda’."
And more from the letter:
"A number of reports purport to offer additional information, much of it unconfirmed, regarding Ashton-Cirillo. I’ve seen claims this individual is an American, a former intelligence operative in the United States, and an employee of the Ukrainian government. Others have argued Ashton-Cirillo is pulling an elaborate prank. If so, kudos for the delivery of high quality humor," Vance continued in an apparent reference to Ashton-Cirillo’s reported direct lobbying of the U.S. Congress for military aid to Ukraine last December.
These are the questions posed by the Ohio freshman Senator in the letter:
- Is this individual employed by the Ukrainian military, and do we have reason to believe the are compensated using American resources?
- Is this individual an American citizen? Did they ever serve, in any capacity, American intelligence services?
- Do we have reason to believe Ukrainian forces or intelligence services are planning to commit acts of violence against those who engage in ‘Russian propaganda’?
According to the independent news source, The Dossier, Ashton-Cirillo issued some incriminating fresh statements on Monday, and then quickly backtracked, perhaps sensing he could be in hot water or that the whole episode might embarrass Kiev:
Responding to an inquiry form Senator JD Vance of Ohio, Sarah Ashton-Cirillo — born Michael John Cirillo — declared that he answers to three people: "my Ukrainian commanders, the Ukrainian people, and the American taxpayer."
An hour later, Cirillo posted a video backtracking on the previous statement, insisting that the U.S. government is not funding his Ukrainian military media operation overseas.
This is the bizarre response to Vance's inquiries from the transgender YouTube spokesperson...
After being swamped with Russian lies, a sitting US Senator questioned my role in Ukraine.— Sarah Ashton-Cirillo (Ukrainian TDF Media) (@SarahAshtonLV) September 18, 2023
Below is my response.
First though, I asked for the expedited delivery of ATACMS from the United States.
Vance later gave some apt and appropriate comments to Breitbart News, saying: "If the Ukrainians want to hire weirdos to threaten Americans and others for speaking their mind, I guess that’s their right. They shouldn’t use our tax dollars to do it."
He continued: "And we shouldn’t pretend this is a war for freedom when our supposed ally is threatening violence to anyone who opposes the war."
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Meanwhile, here's how we know that the Ukrainian government will continue down this weird trajectory of giving platforms to transgender journalists in an effort to virtue-signal to Western-Left progressives...
Clinton Global Initiative announces new proposal to help rebuild Ukraine, provide humanitarian support https://t.co/vkg0gf4tIz— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 19, 2023