Who is Wali, the Canadian sniper in Ukraine?
London: A battle hardened Canadian sniper has joined Ukrainian forces to fight against Russian army days after President Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine.
Although the sniper’s real identity has been withheld due to security reasons, his nickname has raised some eyebrows.
The 40-year-old former elite sniper from Canada’s Royal 22nd Regiment, a veteran of two deployments in Afghanistan, is one of more than 500 Canadians who have flown to Ukraine in response to President Zelensky’s call to join the Ukrainian soldiers.
Nicknamed Wali previously volunteered to join Kurdish forces during their battle against Islamic State militant group in Iraq.
Wali is a Muslim name which means saint but it is not immediately known whether the name was chosen because he is a Muslim or he adopted the name after fighting alongside Muslim Kurdish fighters against IS terrorists.
His deployment in Afghanistan, a Muslim country, could also be the reason he picked a Muslim name.
Wali crossed the border into Ukraine through Poland earlier this week and said he and other volunteers were welcomed with open arms.
“They were so happy to have us,” he told CBC. “It’s like we were friends right away,” he was quoted as saying by people.com
“A week ago, I was still programming stuff,” Wali added. “Now I’m grabbing anti-tank missiles in a warehouse … That’s my reality right now.”