A social-media account that spread misinformation about the war in Ukraine and pro-Russian war talking points was created by former US Navy non-commissioned officer, The Wall Street Journal confirmed in an exclusive interview.
Sarah Bils is a 37-year-old woman in Oak Harbor, Washington, who served at the US Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island until November of 2022, online Navy records show. Bils' identity was first uncovered by users on Twitter and Reddit, and first reported by an advocacy site mainly posting about the war known as Malcontent News.
Online, however, Bils goes by the name Donbass Devushka, and her account sometimes posts graphic images of the fighting, praises the brutal wing of the Russian military known as the Wagner group, and sometimes celebrates the death of Ukrainian fighters.
Bils told the Journal that 15 other people help her run the account.
The persona has a YouTube channel, a Twitter, and a Spotify podcast with tens of thousands of followers. On the podcast, Bils, who in previous posts claimed to be from Eastern Europe, appears to put on a phony accent.
On the bio of her Telegram — from which she posts dozens of times a day — Bils says the account is "Russian-style information warfare" that's "Bringing the multipolar world together." The account, ironically, once posted a screenshot of the popular meme reading "I'll serve crack before I serve this country" — meant to signify that someone would never join the US military.
The Telegram account was also recently associated with helping to spread four images of the dozens of leaked US intelligence documents that appeared on a Discord server called Thug Shaker Central. Many of these documents contained information on US intelligence gathering on the war in Ukraine. Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old junior-ranking US National Guard airman, was arrested on Thursday and charged on Friday with possessing classified documents pertaining to national security, and possessing national defense materials.
Bils, who had secret security clearances while serving, told the Journal she did not help to leak the documents. The Journal also noted that the documents posted on her channel were altered versions of the Discord documents, but Bils denied that her team had altered them.
"I obviously know the gravity of top-secret classified materials," she told the publication.
The documents are no longer on the account, but the Donbass Devushka Telegram channel shared a theory on April 13 that the leaks were actually an intentional effort from US intelligence officials and that Teixeira unknowingly carried out their plan.
Insider reached out to emails associated with Donbass Devushka and Bils but did not immediately receive a response.
The US Navy did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.