Canadian Sniper “Wali” Confirmed Alive After False Death Claims in Ukraine

Patrick Colwell
Patrick Colwell
Pat is a traveling freelance journalist and photographer, and holds a bachelor's degree with a focus in conflict investigation. With years of expertise in OSINT, geolocation, and data analysis, he is also the founder of the Our Wars Today brand.

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Canadian sniper “Wali” who is serving in the Ukrainian Territorial Defenses, has given recent interviews confirming he is safe as opposed to online claims. He had flown out to fight with the Ukrainians in their defense against Russian forces, having previously volunteered with the Kurdish Peshmerga resistance against the Islamic State in Iraq. Before, he had served in Afghanistan with the Royal 22e Regiment of Canada.

Wali said to CBC he’s not the deadliest sniper in the world and holds no records, some Russian claims online had said he was the deadliest sniper. 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.”

Posts on VKontakte, a Russian social media site known as VK, claimed that Wali had been killed by Russian special forces 20 minutes after he arrived in Mariupol, the southern port city that has been under siege by Russian forces. “I’ve never seen Mariupol in my life,” Wali said “I don’t understand why they are doing this because it’s so amateur. Wali said that, over the past week, he’s seen Russian forces indiscriminately shelling everything in their path, in an interview with CBC.

In a recent Facebook post poking fun at the Russian army, the sniper – who goes by the nom-de-guerre ‘Wali’ posed with their MRE rations: “Here I am with a Russian military ration,” he said. “I would like to thank the Russian Army for bringing this meal to me.” In the clip, he opeed a cardboard box full of supplies before taking out each individual package and showing the use-by date on the back to demonstrate that the goods were out of date. But Wali said he enjoyed the meals regardless.

“I was at the front without a phone, I was the last person to find out about my own death,” Wali said in an interview with Cuatro.

“When I went back and checked my phone, I saw that they were claiming I was dead, I told everyone it wasn’t true. “The Russians leave their weapons and even abandon their dead, that has happened in my area, I would be much more afraid to face Canadian or American armies than Russians, they’re good but they’re not that smart. They make a lot of mistakes.”

He is still using the also notable Sako TRG-42 sniper rifle (Finnish) with Schmidt & Bender PM II rifle scope. Identified by War Noir