Once celebrated by the international media, a Canadian sniper known as ‘Wali’ has returned from Ukraine to Quebec, telling local journalists that his experience there was a “terrible disappointment.” He claimed the Ukrainians were suffering due to inadequate weaponry, poor training and seeing heavy losses as well as profiteering and desertion in the ranks of their military.
When ‘Wali’ answered Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call two months ago and volunteered to fight for Ukraine, he was given lavish coverage by the Western media. A former Canadian soldier who had also volunteered to fight with Kurdish militants in Iraq, Wali was described by Spanish media as “the best sniper in the world”, celebrated by American military bloggers for “hilarious troll[ing]” Russia and praised by The New York Post for “grabbing anti-tank missiles in a warehouse to kill real people”.
However, the Canadian sniper said that reality left him disillusioned. Back home in Quebec, Wali told La Presse on Friday that his Ukrainian commanders initially “didn’t know what to do” with foreign fighters like himself. Tired of waiting for an opportunity to fight, Wali joined the ‘Norman Brigade,’ a private unit led by another former soldier from Quebec.
However, several members of this brigade told La Presse that the weapons and armour promised by the brigade’s head never showed up, and some of its members found themselves near the front lines with no protective equipment. Around 60 members of the brigade have since deserted, its commander told La Presse, and some soldiers “schemed” to steal a $ 5 lakh shipment of American-supplied weapons and form their own unit.
The Canadian sniper eventually joined a Ukrainian unit fighting near Kyiv and described having to seek out weapons, food and gasoline.
“You had to know someone who knew someone who told you that in some old barbershop they would give you an AK-47,” he recounted. “Even for the meals, it is often the civilians who provide them.”
In the end, Wali said that he ended up firing two bullets into windows “to scare people,” and decided to come home shortly after two Ukrainian conscripts he was posted within the Donbas region exposed themselves to a Russian tank and received “highly accurate” shell fire in return.
“I told them not to expose themselves like that, but they weren’t listening to me,” he said. “I saw the shrapnel go by like lasers. My body tensed up. I couldn’t hear anything, I immediately had a headache. It was really violent.