Where is Wali? A Canadian sniper is back in Ukraine and has a new mission

He saw death up close in the suburbs of kyiv, but it was the fear of being forgotten by his son that brought him back to Canada. Now the Canadian sniper is back in Ukraine, but his role will be different

They even said he was killed in action. He was one of the first foreigners to answer the call of Volodymyr Zelensky, at the beginning of the Russian invasion. Helped break the siege of kyiv, lost comrades and saw death up close. He returned home in the arms of his wife and baby. Today, the Canadian sniper known only as Wali is back on Ukrainian soil, but his mission is different, but no less important.

After those first freezing days of March, in the splintered suburbs of Irpin, where he and other foreign volunteers had stopped Russian attempts to encircle the capital, Wali could not resist. Love for his son, whom he left behind with only a few months to live, forced him to return to Canada. In recent weeks, during the few video calls he made in Canada, he noticed that his son was starting to forget about him.

“I felt it during video calls. Then I started imagining what it would be like if I died in battle. My son would no longer know me. I would become a story they would tell you. I would be this father who left once for Ukraine and who never came back”, he confided, at the time, to El País newspaper.

He is now back in Ukraine, but his role will be different. He began planning his return in June, and in mid-September returned to command and train a group of snipers.

The shooter explains that the scenario observed in Ukraine is already very different, especially at the level of military organization. Everything is planned to the millimeter, he assures. From theft, to the person who will pick you up, to the secret and protected journey led by a collaborator. Everything is done with the utmost professionalism. Upon arriving in Lviv, you receive an accreditation that helps you distinguish yourself at the various checkpoints that exist on Ukrainian roads.

“I am back in Ukraine for the next offensive operations. The exact definition of my new tasks will be clarified in the coming days and could be broadened beyond sniper-related issues,” he told the Spanish newspaper on September 19.

The experienced soldier believes that Ukraine suffers from not having enough war professionals, although this deficiency has been filled by the abundance of courage in the country. Still, Wali stresses: “Ukraine needs long-term support, both militarily and economically. For me, this means helping to improve the professionalism of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” he adds.

The scenario is now very different from when it happened. In the first days of March, no one really knew where the Russian troops were and what territories they had already conquered. Many came to believe that kyiv was about to fall. The mission of Wali and the other foreign volunteers was clear: to defend the capital at all costs and to prevent the advance of the Russian paratroopers who were trying to decapitate the Ukrainian leaders.

The situation is now much more favorable for Ukraine, which has demonstrated that it has more capabilities than those given to it and has already recovered a large part of the territory lost at the start of the conflict, particularly in the north, in Kiev, Sumy and Chernihiv and, more recently, in the province of Kharkiv. But that’s not all that has changed: for Wali, Ukraine is already one of the countries with the best shooters in the world.

Vladimir Putin responded by announcing the mobilization of 300,000 Russian troops, while the decree guaranteeing its legality allows the Kremlin to take millions of citizens into battle. But Ukraine is not afraid of this mobilization, explains Wali.

“Putin has lost his weapons. Your best weapons and your best soldiers. This massive mobilization is a major challenge. But from experience, producing soldiers capable of waging war takes time. Ukraine is several months ahead of him,” said the Canadian volunteer.

The only certainty of this strategy is that it will result in more deaths on the battlefields. This is why Wali insists that the key to a Ukrainian victory is the quality, not the quantity, of Ukrainian soldiers. And this is where Wali himself comes into play.

Alaric Cohen

"Freelance communicator. Hardcore web practitioner. Entrepreneur. Total student. Beer ninja."

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