Fact-Check: Canadian Sniper ‘Wali’ Alive or Dead in Ukraine
|Former Canadian Forces sniper rumours of his death in Ukraine. Wali sits with his weapon in the Kyiv region in March 2022, where he was serving on the front lines with Ukraine’s army|
Fact About the Death of the Notorious Canadian Sniper in Ukraine
Wali - A Canadian sniper who was rumoured to have died in Ukraine fightings said he was simply in “black-out mode” and believes rumours of his death were part of a propaganda.
Rumours that Wali had died began circulating on social media last week, with no obvious source. Several mainstream media outlets also began asking if Wali was still alive.
Video Canadian Sniper Wali said He is Alive in Kyiv, Ukraine:
The former Canadian Armed Forces member said he returned to a safe location in Ukraine Monday after a week spent battling Russian forces on the front lines in the Kyiv region. When he turned on his phone, he discovered hundreds of urgent messages from people convinced he'd been killed in action.
His wife, father, friends and total strangers sent frantic messages trying to confirm he was still alive.
While he doesn’t know where the rumours came from, he said they were a surprise to him when he came off the front lines several days ago. “I was the last person to learn the news that I was dead,” he said.
“I think it’s just trolling. But I think it’s strange because after a while the enemy will lose credibility with this propaganda. I don’t understand why they push such lies. It’s pretty obvious because after a few days I’m popping out and telling everyone I’m alive.”
Where was 'wali' Sniper in Ukraine and What Happened to him?
|Wali sniper is alive in Kyiv, Ukraine|
Wali is reported to have been fighting alongside the Norman Brigade, a British and Candain fighting troop made up of volunteers. Wali had travelled to Ukraine through Poland to provide his support.
Wali said he spent the last week that he was rumoured to be dead on the front lines “in the Kyiv region,” (capital of Ukraine) and is resting now as he’s sick. He told his story between coughs, saying he will be back out on the front line in the next few days.
Wali said he didn't sleep or eat for days while in the midst of the fighting. He said his journey back from the defence of Kyiv to a safe location elsewhere in Ukraine brought him past "apocalyptic" scenes of devastation caused by relentless Russian shelling.
He said he is fighting alongside the “awesome” Ukrainian Armed Forces, with his Canadian partner, and in the last few days the group had taken ground and made “advancements against the enemy” in the region they were fighting in. He said others in his group had shot people but he had not yet.
“This war is like playing chess without knowing what the other pawns are. You know a bit but not enough. We got engaged with the Russians in very close distance, like 50 metres, and at that point they knew we were there.
“I was in a house where they shot the room right beside me with shells from a tank, I was about three metres away. We were lucky. Now I know how it feels to be engaged by a tank.”
One of his colleagues was shot on one of the first Ukrainian patrols he was part of and needed to be evacuated, but had survived, he said.
He has spoken to his wife in the last couple of days and she understood he had simply been in black-out mode, he said. "Most combat zones have no electricity and no water and it’s chaos. If you go in the centre [in Kyiv], it’s alright”, he said.
Attacks by Russian troops have not been sophisticated, he said.
“The whole war effort is amateur. [The Russians] are not awesome. They don’t have the capabilities of NATO forces. Russia is a poor country and it reflects in their weapons. They destroy everything, they just keep shooting at houses again and again,” he said to Canada Media.
He said if countries wanted to help Ukraine they should be sending modern weaponry to help troops in their fight. Without them, he said, the Ukrainian casualties would be much higher.
Wali said he left his phone at a secure base before leaving for the Kyiv front because he didn't want to risk alerting Russian intelligence to his whereabouts.
Who is Wali -Was the Best Sniper in the World?
|Wali in the Kyiv region earlier this month|
What is Real Name of Wali?
Very little is known about the 40-year-old Canadian computer scientist who joined the Ukrainian army.
Wali served in Afghanistan and Iraq as a part of the Royal Canadian Infantry’s 22nd Regiment (Canadian Armed Forces, a renowned legion of mostly French-Canadian soldiers) in Kandahar. His real name is unknown; Wali is a nom de guerre.
His former commander in Kurdistan, who fought with Wali against ISIS, sent a note saying the community sacrificed a sheep in his honour.
Both Wali and special operations sources say he was never a member of JTF2 and was not present when a JTF2 sniper took the 3.45 km shot killing an ISIS operative in Iraq in 2017.
He felt compelled to leave his wife, his infant son and his comfortable job as a computer programmer back in Canada to take up arms in Ukraine out of a sense of duty.
Wali arrived in Ukraine at the beginning of the war to join the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Speaking from the Kyiv region to Canada Media on March 22, he said he is “well-fed, rested and all good.”
Wali was not the best sniper in the world
He asked to set the story straight about his infamy and the false commentary that he was the best sniper in the world. “I’m just a normal soldier. I’m a good soldier, no doubt about it. But I’m a good soldier among other good soldiers.”
The sniper, who goes by the name Wali, became famous after a viral, but false, claim that he took the world’s longest sniper shot in Iraq.
While he can’t talk about specifics due to the nature of the war, Wali said he will remain in Ukraine for some time yet — until he has “done my duty.”
Misinformation about Wali's record has been circulating online for weeks — including claims that he was the deadliest sniper in the world and held a record for the longest-distance kill shot.
Wali — who joined Ukraine's defence along with another Canadian veteran who goes by the nickname "Shadow" — said he's not the deadliest sniper in the world and holds no records. Just a few weeks ago, he said, he was working as a computer programmer in Canada and wasn't actively training.
"I'm a good sniper," said Wali. "Nothing less, nothing more ... I didn't kill any Russians yet. I help doing so because the sniper is doing a lot of observation, reporting."
The identity of the sniper behind 3,540-metre shot in 2017 has never been released. Officials said the sniper was from an elite Canadian special forces unit, which Wali was not part of.
|Wali sniper has been described as a racist due to the fact he appeared to enjoy shooting Islamic militants, whilst those who knew him described him as 'mentally unstable'. In the Ukrainian media he has been labelled as a hero, having killed 11 Russian soldiers since stepping foot inside the country.|
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