Sniper ‘Wali’ debunks rumors about his death: ‘I don’t have a single scratch’. All those rumors about ‘Wali’ dying are not true, he just went dark
A former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who is now fighting Russian forces in Ukraine claims he was the last to learn of his own demise.
There was a report about ‘Wali’ not even lasting a single day of combat but this rumor was completely debunked on Tuesday by the man himself.
The former CAF member, who goes by the moniker Wali, told CBC News that he returned to a safe location in Ukraine on Monday following a week spent fighting Russian forces on the front lines in the Kyiv region. He discovered hundreds of urgent messages from people convinced he’d been killed in action when he turned on his phone.
His wife, father, friends, and complete strangers all sent frantic messages confirming his survival.
His former commander in Kurdistan, who fought alongside Wali against ISIS, sent a note in his honor, stating that the community sacrificed a sheep.
“I’m alive, as you can see,” Wali said in a video call Tuesday. “Not a single scratch.
“I’m pretty much the last person to know about my death.”
Who is Wali?
Wali served in Afghanistan as a part of the Royal Canadian Infantry’s 22nd Regiment in Kandahar. His real name is unknown; Wali is a nom de guerre.
The news organization CBC reported that Wali had travelled to Ukraine through Poland to provide his support. In an interview with CBC he described the events of his journey saying that when he and three other fighters arrived they were greeted with “hugs, handshakes, flags and photos.”
“They were so happy to have us” said Wali, adding that when he arrived and met the Ukrainian troops they became friends “right away.”
But it had been reported, unverified and untrue as is now known, that he had been killed in the Russian siege of Mariupol.
“There’s two things I know for sure: that there’s a Russian invasion of Ukraine and that people think I’m dead”, he told Alex Boyd of Canadian newspaper The Record on Tuesday. Here’s what else he said in his comeback.
What else did Wali say in his interview?
Wali says he had been fighting near Kyiv for the last week and it was too dangerous to reveal his position to friends and family using a phone. A training centre in western Ukraine was hit by Russian jets with rumours that the use of phone signals allowed the Russians to triangulate the large mass of troops. Wali for his part had left his phone in a secure location during his latest round of combat.
“I’m alive, as you can see,” Wali said in the video call. “Not a single scratch.”
“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.”
Wali said that he’s seen Russian forces indiscriminately shelling, corroborating images and reports of attacks on hospitals and apartment blocks around eastern Ukraine.
“They use a lot of artillery and rifles and shelling,” he said. “They just shoot everywhere. I think I received maybe hundreds of shells in the past days.”
How have his unit responded?
Wali is reported to have been fighting alongside the Norman Brigade, a British and Candain fighting troop made up of volunteers. In a Facebook post on the group’s official Facebook page, the unit was less enthusiastic with his media recognition.
“We warned him multiple times that the chain of command did not endorse his actions with the media“, the statement reads.
“Wali is a free spirit and I had to send him to another unit of his choice because he was bypassing clear instructions and OPSEC guidelines. This is not a game. He was becoming a danger for the mission , for his family and for himself.”