American Correspondent For Ukraine Suspended After Threatening Critics Of U.S. Involvement In Russian War
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Ukrainian officials suspended trans-identifying American junior sergeant Sarah Ashton-Cirillo from duties as a military spokesperson for the Eastern European nation after Ashton-Cirillo said critics of U.S. involvement in Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia would be “hunted down.”

“Sarah Ashton-Cirillo has been suspended from the duties of the spokesperson of the (territorial defense forces of Ukraine) while an investigation is underway,” Ukraine’s defense ministry said in a X-post on Wednesday.

Ashton-Cirillo, a 46-year-old biological male from Nevada who reportedly went by Mike before identifying as a female, became an official spokesperson for Ukraine after volunteering for Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Service.

In a video posted on X on September 13, Ashton-Cirillo said, “Russia hates the truth, that their obsessive focus on a Ukrainian volunteer is simply allowing the light of the Ukrainian nation’s honesty to shine brightly.”

“Next week, the teeth of the Russian devils will gnash ever harder, and their rabid mouths will foam in uncontrollable frenzy as the world will see a favorite Kremlin propagandist pay for their crimes,” Ashton-Cirillo said. “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.”

It’s unclear who Ashton-Cirillo referenced as the “puppet of Putin” in the video.

Ukraine Territorial Defense Forces officials said in a X-post on Wednesday that its command or the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not approve the comments made by Ashton-Cirillo.

“When conducting military operations against the aggressor, the defense forces of Ukraine strictly observe the norms of international humanitarian law,” the post said. “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.”

Ohio Senator JD Vance, a Republican, sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines on September 15, raising concerns over the conduct of Ashton-Cirillo.

“I worry American resources could be supporting violence or the threat of violence against people for speaking their mind,” Vance’s letter reads, in part. “Notably, any critic of America’s incoherent policy in Ukraine has been slandered as propagandists, including multiple presidential candidates and American journalists. While we can debate the merits of these accusations, engaging in protected speech should not invite threats of violence—otherwise, the First Amendment means nothing.”

Ashton-Cirillo originally traveled to Ukraine to write about the refugee crisis — before becoming a war correspondent in March and enlisting as a combat medic.

Last year, Las Vegas city officials and Nevada Democrats, including U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Rep. Dina Titus, and former Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, gave recognition to the suspended spokesperson for working on the frontlines in Ukraine.

“The reasons I’m fighting along with every other soldier are the reasons that the people in the United States and elsewhere can enjoy the lives they have here,” Ashton-Cirillo told local media.

Members of Congress also reportedly asked the trans-identifying correspondent to give a military uniform to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

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