Ukraine’s military announced it had suspended controversial transgender spokesperson Sarah Ashton-Cirillo for allegedly making unapproved statements on social media; However, the Ukrainians or the Biden administration have not provided any updates on the fate of a U.S. citizen journalist currently imprisoned in Ukraine.
Following a dispute sparked by investigations initiated by Senator JD Vance (R-OH), as reported by Breitbart News, the Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) announced Wednesday that Sarah Ashton- Cirillo, an American transgender person, was suspended from her role as spokesperson.
On social media, the TDF said: “(Junior Seargant) Ashton-Cirillo’s statements in recent days have not been endorsed by TDF or AFU leadership. When carrying out military operations against the aggressor, the Ukrainian Defense Forces strictly adhere to the norms of international humanitarian law.
“The TDF command will conduct an official investigation into the circumstances of these statements. Appropriate decisions would be taken. Sergeant Sarah Ashton-Cirillo will be immediately suspended pending investigation.
Junior Sergeant Sarah Ashton-Cirillo has been suspended from her role as spokesperson for the @TDF_UA while an investigation is underway. https://t.co/4nN9z2YiW8
– Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) September 20, 2023
Following the announcement, a source close to President Volodymyr Zelensky told Breitbart News that Ashton-Cirillo was appointed to the position without the president’s approval and confirmed the suspension.
It’s unclear exactly why Ashton-Cirillo was suspended. However, as Breitbart News reported, Ohio Republican Senator JD Vance wrote to senior Biden administration officials this week demanding information on the US citizen after Ashton-Cirillo issued a video on social media stating that Ukraine planned to “hunt down” alleged Russian propagandists. .
After the contents of Breitbart’s letter were published, Ashton-Cirillo took to social media again, this time claiming that people believed to espouse narratives perceived as pro-Russian had no right to be characterized journalists and therefore did not deserve freedom. protection of speech and should be tried as war criminals.
Exclusive: US citizen journalist in Ukrainian prison, State Department confirms, as Biden calls for billions more to protect Ukrainian ‘freedom’https://t.co/8Qymo4ffmX
– Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 19, 2023
As Breitbart News reported on Tuesday, the US State Department has confirmed that the US government is aware that a citizen journalist, known as Gonzalo Lira, is currently in prison in Ukraine. Lira was allegedly accused by the Ukrainians of having “had criminal intent aimed at manufacturing and distributing material containing justification, recognition as legitimate, denial of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which started in 2014, along with a justification.” , recognition as legitimate of the temporary occupation of part of Ukrainian territory.
Ashton-Cirillo has publicly admitted to being involved in the prosecution of Lira, who has dual American and Chilean citizenship. Last week, the transgender spokesperson claimed to have met Lira while testifying in the case, saying the YouTuber was in good mental and physical health. Lira previously claimed she was tortured and extorted while in prison after initially being arrested in May.
Gonzalo Lira is not an innocent man.
Gonzalo Lira is a criminal. pic.twitter.com/aHVoylLwrq
– Sarah Ashton-Cirillo (TDF Ukrainian Media) (@SarahAshtonLV) August 1, 2023
After trying to flee the country and seek asylum in Hungary in July after being released on bail, Ashton-Cirillo said in a video that Lira was a “criminal” and that an “innocent man” would not ask asylum. Lira could face between five and eight years in prison, which he said would be a death sentence.
In comments provided to Breitbart News, Senator JD Vance remarked about Ashton-Cirillo’s suspension: “No American dollars should be paid to someone who threatens violence against people who are exercising their right to freedom of speech. So I am happy that Ukraine parted ways with this spokesperson.
“The fact that Ukraine had such a spokesperson from the start suggests a military too focused on propaganda against liberals and neoconservatives. I’m tired of fake harsh speeches and videos on social media.
“I would like to know if Ukraine thinks it is closer to victory today than a year ago. We know the answer. And that is why we should promote peace rather than more war.”
Cliff Sims, former deputy director of national intelligence in the Trump administration, told Breitbart: “JD’s Senate election was the most important of the last cycle and it shows exactly why: he’s taking stands on issues that would otherwise are totally ignored, often even by members. of his own party and obtain results.
.@jdvance1: “If the Ukrainians want to hire weirdos to threaten Americans and others who speak their minds, I guess that’s their right. They shouldn’t be using our tax money to do it.” https://t.co/BmTBNObpO5
– Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) September 18, 2023
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