Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, a trans woman from the US, suspended from her role as spokesperson for Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Force over unapproved statements.
Kyiv, September 21, 2023 – Ukraine’s military has announced the suspension of Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, a US-born spokesperson for Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces. This suspension comes in the wake of statements made by Ashton-Cirillo that were not sanctioned by the military hierarchy.
Ukraine’s defense ministry revealed this development via social media, stating, “Sarah Ashton-Cirillo has been suspended from the duties of the spokesperson of the Territorial Defense Forces of Ukraine while an investigation is underway.”
The Territorial Defense Force (TDF) of Ukraine provided further details, emphasizing that recent statements made by Ashton-Cirillo “were not approved by the command of the TDF or the command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU).”
It was noted that during military operations against aggressors, Ukraine’s defense forces strictly adhere to international humanitarian law.
Ashton-Cirillo’s journey to Ukraine began with the intention of reporting on refugees but evolved into active participation in Ukraine’s defense efforts. She has since become the official spokesperson for the country’s territorial defense forces. Notably, Ashton-Cirillo, a 46-year-old trans woman from Nevada with a background in journalism and research, came to Ukraine in March 2022.
Her suspension stems from undisclosed statements, but speculation suggests that a recent dispute with a US senator may be the catalyst for this action.
US Senator J.D. Vance, a vocal opponent of Ukraine, alleged that Ashton-Cirillo called for the assassination of Americans abroad. Vance’s claims reference a recent video in which Ashton-Cirillo asserted, “Russia hates the truth that their obsessive focus on a Ukrainian volunteer Ashton-Cirillo, is simply allowing the light of the Ukrainian nation’s honesty to shine brightly.”
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.— Sarah Ashton-Cirillo (Ukrainian TDF Media) (@SarahAshtonLV) September 13, 2023
The russians and their supporters are gnashing their teeth as predicted.
Ashton-Cirillo, who hosts live YouTube shows titled “Ukraine in the Know” and “Russia Hates the Truth,” maintains an active presence on Twitter with 156,000 followers.
In an interview with AFP, she emphasized her editorial control over her productions and her commitment to avoiding a dry, statistics-driven approach to war coverage.