(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Ukraine Territorial Defense Forces announced Wednesday that it’s suspending its American transgender spokesperson for making unapproved threats towards “Russian propagandists”—a smear term that has been used to target American journalists and politicians such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Last week, the spokesperson, Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, reportedly warned that “a favorite Kremlin propagandist” would “pay for their crimes,” before declaring that “Russia’s war criminal propagandists will all be hunted down, and justice will be served.”
Ashton-Cirillo’s comments drew the ire of Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, who asked why the U.S. is paying someone who’s attacking free speech.
“Are we really funding a military that is threatening the free speech rights of people who disagree with the Ukraine war?” he asked on Fox News host Jesse Waters’s program. “Why are our paid guns threatening the rights of Americans?”
According to the Ukraine Territorial Defense Forces, Ashton-Cirillo’s comments were unapproved and unwarranted.
“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,” the military branch said on Twitter.
“The command of the TDF will conduct an official investigation into the circumstances of these statements. Appropriate decisions would be taken. Sergeant Sarah Ashton-Cirillo will be suspended immediately pending the investigation,” the group said.
The latest unhinged comment followed Ashton-Cirillo saying that Russian people aren’t human in August.
“Do you know the difference between us and them, besides fighting under this flag and for freedom on behalf of the people of Ukraine, while the Russians are fighting for tyranny and dictatorship? It’s pretty simple: We’re human, and those guys most definitely aren’t,” said Ashton-Cirillo, who has also referred to Russians as “orcs.”
The Kyiv Post first announced Ashton-Cirillo’s appointment as Ukrainian Armed Forces’ spokesperson in August. According to Newsweek, the transgender American arrived in Ukraine shortly after Russia’s invasion in March 2022, and started working as a war reporter.
After witnessing the war firsthand, Ashton-Cirillo reportedly enlisted in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and worked as a combat medic. She was later made spokesperson.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.