Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk from a location somewhere in Kyiv, the elusive Wali, a Canadian solider who has fought in several major conflicts including against ISIS in Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan and versus Russians in Ukraine has been credited by one source as having the world’s longest confirmed kill at 3,540 meters.
As well as an Indian media outlet saying: “he can kill 40 people in one day’” stories Wali himself has described as “fake news”.
With the war in Ukraine now 512 days in, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought with it a wave of death and destruction with allegations of war crimes against President Vladimir Putin and his troops, a determined resistance by Ukrainian forces, and the supply of Western-made defences to helping Kyiv to push back against aggression by Moscow.
Asked about what the situation is really like on the ground, Wali said: “It’s easy in the cities and hell at the front.
“Here in Kyiv, you can barely hear the explosions and drones now, I would compare it to the situation in Jerusalem, it’s safe, modern, but there still a risk of Russian attacks, but you can really tell western supplied defences are working.”
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However, not all is peaceful on the frontline. He continued: “The front line is hell.
“If you are deployed on the zero line, which is literally face to face with Russian soldiers, this is the real hellish part of the war.
“The biggest problem we face are the trenches and the mines.
“Russian are laying lots of mines and we need more equipment to stop this, and we also to fortify the trenches.
“But fortunately, Ukrainians are getting better, they have learned from past mistakes, they adjust and casualties are becoming fewer.”
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With the war taking its toll on both Ukrainian and Russian soldiers, Wali explained how the dynamics of the war has changed, in particular on the movements and morale of the Russians.
He said: “In general, Russians are losing faith, but there are still many of them that are convinced they are fighting this war to defend Russia.
“But morale is getting really low, the will to fight is getting less, and this likely because of the influx of equipment being received by Ukraine.”
Discussing the supply of Western arms to Ukraine, Wali delivered an open message to the West.
He said: “Whether it be western powers, NATO or any suppliers of arms, the problem now in Ukraine is they are being given large supplies of big fancy weapons, big tanks and missile batteries, but there is a huge gap which needs to be filled in between large arms, and smaller supplies.
“The demand now is for equipment in the middle. It’s like giving free houses to someone, which is similar to the large weapons, but not giving them any furniture to use in the house, which can be compared to cheaper drones, or even something as simple as barbed wire.
“Soldiers on the front line are now in need of the smaller items, at the moment, they are fundraising themselves to obtain tourniquets, batteries and regular vehicles for basic transportation. This is what is needed, and the cost of such supplies is far cheaper, and will be more effective.”
Wali also went on to explain how Ukrainian soldiers also lack combat experience.
He continued: “For many Ukrainian soldiers, war is something very new. They are signed up career soldiers, but have no wartime experience.
“For many, the whole notion of war is a disappointment. They spend months if not years training for war, yet for many, it can be over in a matter of seconds on their first front line mission, either being hit by shell shrapnel or a bullet resulting in severe injury, or worse.
“But one thing is for sure, no Ukrainian soldier ever speaks of surrender or negotiations with the Russians, they are tired, that’s for sure, but they remain highly motivated to become victorious.”
Wali’s trip to Ukraine, on this occasion, is to make a documentary about his life and exploits on the battlefield, with the reason behind the production primarily to dispel myths about him, and look back on the time he spent on the frontline.
Speaking of the titles and badges he has been labelled with, he said: “My story is just one of many. I’m not the best sniper in the world, or he best soldier in the world, I’m just a good soldier among other good soldiers.
“There’s nothing more glorious in my history than any other soldier currently or previously on any battlefield.
“Many soldiers out there have fought a lot harder than I ever did, my story is just a small piece.
“But one thing the documentary does is allow me to revisit some of the places I fought, and was almost killed.
“This documentary shows us why supporting Ukraine matters, it allowed me to see houses being rebuilt, windows being replaced in homes that had suffered bomb damage, and how the money is being spent to rebuild again, with fresh paint, and people shopping in places where Russians tanks recently stood burning.”
With Wali having witnessed the horrors of war, and undoubtedly being responsible for taking lives himself, he reflected on his faith to help through the trauma of witnessing such events.
He said: “My faith keeps me going. I’m a Christian, and it explains a lot. I know a lot of people who have been in just one battle, and they are pretty messed up. As for me, and why it keeps me going, I just don’t know.”
He continued: “I also need to thank my wife and give her a medal.
“It’s been stressful for her whilst I have been in Ukraine, and even when I have been back in Canada, I’m always planning the next mission to Ukraine, and dealing with officials and official bodies on a constant basis regarding Ukraine and war.”
When asked what he plans to do next, breaking into a chuckle, he said: “I’m going to give my family a break, I owe them that, and if you write this, she’ll be most grateful”!
Production has begun on the documentary “Wali” by Good Fight Productions, which is part of the Den Tolmor DD&T Group, and collaborates with Art Territory.
Wali is also in the process of writing a book entitled: “War in Ukraine – What really happened to Wali”.
The interview with Wali was held by James Lee, former Defence and Security Correspondent for Express.co.uk
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