An American Spokesperson for Ukrainian Military Responds to Senator J.D. Vance’s Concerns
An American working as a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military has fired back at Senator J.D. Vance after the Republican lawmaker expressed his concerns about her work for Kyiv. Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, a spokesperson for the Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, addressed Vance’s September 15 letter, which was sent to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. In his letter, Vance raised questions about Ashton-Cirillo’s role and accused her of threatening physical violence to anyone spreading Russian propaganda.
Accusations and Concerns Raised by Senator Vance
In his letter, Senator Vance brought up several points of concern regarding Sarah Ashton-Cirillo and her work. He requested information about her employment within the Ukrainian military and whether she is being compensated using American resources. Vance also questioned her citizenship and whether she has served for American intelligence services. Additionally, he asked if there were any indications that Ukrainian forces or intelligence services were planning acts of violence against individuals engaged in Russian propaganda.
Upholding the First Amendment
In response to Vance’s letter, Sarah Ashton-Cirillo stated that, like the Senator, she understands the importance of the First Amendment. She emphasized that defending the First Amendment is part of upholding an oath, and engaging in protected speech should not invite threats of violence. Ashton-Cirillo highlighted that journalists are heroes and have the right to report on Ukraine’s war for liberation without interference.
Background and Role of Sarah Ashton-Cirillo
Sarah Ashton-Cirillo is an American who arrived in Ukraine in March 2022 to work as a reporter. After experiencing the war firsthand, she enlisted in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and served as a combat medic. During her time in the military, she began hosting English-language shows for the TDF before assuming her current role as a spokesperson for the military branch.
Addressing Vance’s Accusations
In a video posted on X, Sarah Ashton-Cirillo addressed some of the accusations made by Senator Vance. Regarding the allegation of supporting violence against members of Kremlin-backed media, she clarified that Russian propagandists and war criminals spreading lies and false narratives are not journalists but information agents. She stressed that in Ukraine, justice is sought through international tribunals and fair trials for those suspected of committing war crimes.
Working for the U.S. Government
Ashton-Cirillo answered Vance’s question about whether she is working for the U.S. government in any capacity. She stated that she is an American serving as a Ukrainian infantry soldier and combat medic. She highlighted her role as a spokesperson and Russian disinformation analyst for the TDF’s Media Team.
Speculation and Response
Sarah Ashton-Cirillo acknowledged the “disappointing” speculation surrounding her, particularly regarding her gender identity as a transgender person. She emphasized that while Ukraine fights for global liberty and victory, many in Moscow and around the world are still focused on outdated stereotypes concerning gender chaos.
Vance’s Broader Views and Conclusion
Senator Vance has previously called for cutting off U.S. support for Ukraine, arguing that additional funding could prolong the war. When asked if Vance’s letter reflects his broader views on ending U.S. support for Kyiv, Ashton-Cirillo declined to speculate and stated that Vance is fulfilling the role entrusted to him by the voters of Ohio. She concluded by affirming her allegiance to her Ukrainian commanders, the Ukrainian people, and the American taxpayer, emphasizing her dedication to fighting against the tyranny of Russia and its enablers.