‘One Of World’s Deadliest' Snipers Who Fought In Afghanistan And Iraq Arrives In Ukraine
| Last updated
A French-Canadian sniper has arrived in Ukraine to take on Russian forces.
Known only by his nickname, 'Wali', the marksman reportedly crossed the border from Poland into Ukraine after travelling all the way from his home country.
He's previously been described as 'one of the world's best snipers'.
Wali left his wife and infant child behind in Canada to answer Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's call for foreign fighters to join the resistance.
Deployed twice to Afghanistan as a sniper with the Canadian Armed Forces between 2009 and 2011, he fought in the same unit as the sniper with the world’s longest confirmed kill of 3.5km.
While he wouldn't confirm where he crossed the border, Wali told CBC News that he has been overwhelmed by the warm welcome given to him by Ukrainian people.
"They were so happy to have us," he said. "It's like we were friends right away."
The Canadian soldier, who did a stint as a foreign fighter with the Kurdish forces battling Islamic State extremists in Iraq, said he couldn't sit back and do nothing.
In Afghanistan, he was nicknamed Wali. The former sniper with the Royal 22e Regiment, who earlier this week crossed the border into Ukraine from Poland, answering a call from Ukraine's president for a foreign legion to help repel the Russian invasion.https://t.co/qlYpHtuK2y— Ghiz Buvje (@GhizBuvje) March 5, 2022
"I want to help them. It's as simple as that," he said.
"I have to help because there are people here being bombarded just because they want to be European and not Russian."
His decision to fight with Ukraine's foreign legion comes at a significant personal cost: he'll miss his son's first birthday this week.
Wali described it as the 'hardest part' of the decision to join the fight, adding his wife was opposed to the idea.
"You can imagine what she said and how she thinks," Wali said.
But he said watching what was going on in Ukraine was like a firefighter hearing an alarm going off.
Wali isn't the only foreign fighter to travel to eastern Europe to battle Russian forces.
Nearly 20,000 people from 52 countries around the world have also applied to be a part of Ukraine's foreign legion.
Foreigners willing to defend Ukraine and world order as part of the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine, I invite you to contact foreign diplomatic missions of Ukraine in your respective countries. Together we defeated Hitler, and we will defeat Putin, too.— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) February 27, 2022
Speaking to local media, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba praised the unprecedented mobilisation of foreigners who want to fight for Ukraine.
"The whole world today is on the side of Ukraine, not only in words, but also in deeds," Kuleba said.
"The mobilisation of the free people of the world is simply amazing.
"Experienced veterans and volunteers from 52 countries of the world come to us.
"We did not hire them, we do not stimulate them in any way. This is their desire to fight on the side of good," the minister said.
Kuleba revealed that the number of applications to fight for Ukraine 'is approaching 20,000'.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.