by WorldTribune Staff, September 19, 2023
Earlier this year, Sarah Ashton-Cirillo — born in the U.S. as Michael John Cirillo — apparently became a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military despite not speaking the Ukrainian language. This adds to the list of unanswered questions about the Ukraine government which has banned the primary opposition party.
Last week, appearing before a backdrop featuring the logo for the Territorial Defence of Ukraine (TDF) — a branch of Kyiv’s military — Ashton-Cirillo posted a video message on social media vowing that Ukraine will “hunt down” alleged allies of the Kremlin operating in Ukraine as “propagandists.”
Now, U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance, Ohio Republican, has written to Team Biden demanding the White House reveal if Ashton-Cirillo has ties to American intelligence services and if U.S. funds are currently subsidizing Ashton-Cirillo’s apparent role in Ukraine, Breitbart News reported on Sunday.
“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,’ ” Vance wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
In a video posted to social media on Sept. 13, which many commenters said looked more like a Saturday Night Live skit, Ashton-Cirillo says:
“Next week, the teeth of the Russian devils will gnash ever harder, and their rabid mouths will foam an uncontrollable frenzy as the world will see a favorite Kremlin propagandist pay for their crimes. And this puppet of Putin is only the first. Russia’s war criminal propagandists will all be hunted down, and justice will be served as we in Ukraine are led on this mission by faith in God, liberty and complete liberation,” the apparent Ukrainian spokesman warned.
The video was apparently in reference to dual U.S. and Chilean citizen Gonzola Lira, who has been accused by the Zelensky government of spreading pro-Russian propaganda after posting videos from within the country critical of the Ukrainian government. Ashton-Cirillo claimed to have testified in the case.
“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.
Vance also asked 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?’
Vance also raised concerns that U.S. taxpayer dollars are supporting violence or the threat of violence against people for speaking their minds, noting that American journalists and even current presidential candidates have been “slandered” as propagandists for Russia.
In June of last year, Forbes reported on how Ashton-Cirillo managed to get into Ukraine, apparently as a war correspondent.
“My gender is female. My name change is legal in Nevada and on my driver’s license. Driver’s license is fine. Passport shows something different,” Ashton-Cirillo told Forbes. “I never bothered to update my passport. So, my passport still has a face that looks nothing like mine.”
That, Ashton-Cirillo said, is because of Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS).
“I don’t mind people knowing that I’m trans. My issue was the passport shows something different. There’s no other way to put it. I’ve had massive Facial Feminization Surgery. I don’t look anything like that person. I was scared shitless as to what would happen if I tried to go into scary Ukraine as my authentic self,” Ashton-Cirillo said.
In the Forbes interview, Ashton-Cirillo also admitted not speaking the Ukrainian language: “Oh my gosh, I’m traveling with strange men, driving across a country at war, where I don’t speak the language, I don’t know anyone except for this one doctor. And we pull into the war zone, and we stopped 20 kilometers outside of the city of Kharkiv. We’re in this white Jeep Cherokee, sleeping in an alley, when there’s these rockets and mortar fire and artillery fire overhead. And I’m like, ‘If this is how I go out, this would have made Hemingway and Gil Horn and Orwell proud.’ The next morning, I woke up and realized I didn’t die after sleeping in a car in a back alley. And being here? Wow, I’ve been at the frontlines of the war.”
Last week, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh was asked whether the American government could confirm if the transgender individual in question is indeed a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military, as Newsweek has reported, to which Singh merely replied: “I cannot confirm that.”
In another video published last week, the Ashton-Cirillo declared that after Ukraine has retaken lands currently occupied by the Russian military, the Zelensky government will prosecute war criminals involved in Moscow’s invasion, which Ashton-Cirillo claimed would include “propagandists.”
“Russian propagandists are war criminals, they are pushing forward a narrative of genocide, of death, and ultimately of evil that is directed to them by Vladimir Putin and his inner circle. They will not escape justice. You cannot hide behind the title of journalist, you cannot hide behind the title of any fictitious meaning that you assign to it when you work for Vladimir Putin and his terrorist regime,” Ashton-Cirillo said.
Since there are several people asking for this video and many discussing it on Telegram and across social media channels, here is my latest episode of Russia Hates the Truth.
The russians and their supporters are gnashing their teeth as predicted.
— Sarah Ashton-Cirillo (Ukrainian TDF Media) (@SarahAshtonLV) September 13, 2023