April 16, 2023


Social-Media Account Overseen by Former Navy Noncommissioned Officer Helped Spread Secrets: An American administrator of the Donbas Girl blogger network uses a pro-Russian persona across online platforms (Yaroslav Trofimov and Bob Mackin,  April 16, 2023, WSJ)

A social-media account overseen by a former U.S. Navy noncommissioned officer--a prominent online voice supporting Russia's war on Ukraine--played a key role in the spread of intelligence documents allegedly leaked by Airman First Class Jack Teixeira, reposting files from obscure online chat rooms.

A purported Russian blogger known as Donbass Devushka, which translates as Donbas Girl, is the face of a network of pro-Kremlin social-media, podcasting, merchandise and fundraising accounts. But the person who hosted podcasts as Donbass Devushka and oversees these accounts is a Washington-state-based former U.S. enlisted aviation electronics technician whose real name is Sarah Bils. 

Russia first intervened in the Donbas part of eastern Ukraine in 2014, and most of the recent fighting has focused on that area.

Ms. Bils, 37 years old, served at the U.S. naval air station on Whidbey Island until late last year, even as the accounts she had established and supervised glorified the Russian military and the paramilitary Wagner Group. They are among the most widely followed English-language social-media outlets promoting Russia's views.  

Posted by at April 16, 2023 4:56 PM