Ukraine’s Transgender Spokesperson Returns to Duty After Suspension, Announces Book Deal

Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, Twitter
Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, Twitter

Ukraine’s controversial transgender spokesperson Sarah Ashton-Cirillo has claimed to have been reinstated in the role representing the Territorial Defence Forces (TDF) after being suspended last month.

“I continue in the role of TDF spokesperson. Truth, trust, and humanity will always prevail over accusations, allegations, and artificial intelligence,” Ashton-Cirillo said on Tuesday.

The American citizen, born as Michael John Cirillo before ‘transitioning’, went on to claim to have signed two book contracts with Potomac Books publishing, with the first volume set to be released in the summer of next year.

“The last weeks of allegations and accusations have created new and unexpected opportunity to bring the on-the-ground truth and facts of Ukraine to the global community while putting to rest all the Russian lies, propaganda, gossip and rumours that have surrounded me,” the former freelance journalist said of the upcoming book.

In September, Ashton-Cirillo was suspended, with the TDF saying: “The statements of (Junior Sergeant) 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 defence forces of Ukraine strictly observe the norms of international humanitarian law.”

This followed a public spat with Ohio Senator J.D. Vance after Breitbart News revealed that the Republican lawmaker demanded that the Biden administration reveal any information it has on Ashton-Cirillo, and if the White House supported the Ukrainian military spokesperson’s threat to “hunt down” so-called Russian propagandists.

Ashton-Cirillo claimed that the declaration did not amount to threats of physical violence, but rather to prosecute people for spreading so-called Russian disinformation, which Ashton-Cirillo said amounted to war crimes and not deserving of free speech protections.

This has brought the spotlight on the situation of dual U.S.-Chilean citizen journalist Gonzalo Lira. As Breitbart News reported last month, the State Department has confirmed that Lira is currently sitting in a Ukrainian prison after he attempted to flee the country and seek asylum in neighbouring Hungary following his release on bail earlier in the year.

Lira has been accused by the Ukrainians of having “had a criminal intent aimed at the manufacture, distribution materials containing justification, recognition as legitimate, denial of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which began in 2014, as well as justification, recognition as legitimate of the temporary occupation of part of Ukraine territory.”

Ashton-Cirillo has publicly admitted to being involved in the prosecution of Lira, claiming to have personally testified as an expert on Russian “disinformation”.

Speaking to Ukrainska Pravda last week, Ashton-Cirillo doubled down on the assertion that people who supposedly spread Kremlin talking points — an allegation made against many Americans — should be jailed for war crimes.

“The only way to defeat the Russians – is to strike them in return. We should not be afraid of Russians, let alone propagandists. They are just paid mercenaries, they are not paid for a rifle in their hands, but for their tongues. We don’t have to worry about what they say on a personal level. We just have to expose them, show who they are – war criminals,” said Ashton-Cirillo.

During the Pravda interview, the Ukrainian spokesperson, who still holds U.S. citizenship, claimed to have voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election but claimed to have previously voted for Republicans in other elections. Last year Ashton-Cirillo was presented with awards from Nevada Democrat Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Democrat Congresswoman Dina Titus.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter: or e-mail to:


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.