A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how a noted Canadian sniper nicknamed Wali had left the Great White North to do some good in war-torn Ukraine.

False Rumors of His Demise

Before too long, the Russian propaganda machine kicked into high gear, and rumors of Wali’s death were all over the internet. But, as it turns out, rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated. Wali is just fine, and so is the Sako TRG-42 bolt action sniper rifle that he uses there as a tool of his trade. The two are shown below in a recent photo taken in an undisclosed location in Ukraine.

Wali is alive and well in Ukraine in March 2022. He is shown here posing with his Sako TRG-42 sniper rifle. Image from @Ash_Stewart_ Twitter feed

Rumors that Wali had died showed up all over social media last week. The news was so rampant that several mainstream media outlets began questioning whether he was OK or not.

This is how rumors get started. Screenshot courtesy of Instagram and archive.ph

Wali says he has no idea how the rumors got started, but he has acknowledged that he has been fired at multiple times.

The Canadian sniper seems to have retained his sense of humor. “I was the last person to learn the news that I was dead,” he said.

“I think it’s just trolling. But I think it’s strange because after a while the enemy will lose credibility with this propaganda. I don’t understand why they push such lies. It’s pretty obvious because after a few days I’m popping out and telling everyone I’m alive.”

Wali was reportedly coughing a bit as he gave his interview to Ashleigh Stewart from Global News. He is currently resting somewhere “in the Kyiv region” but says he’ll be back to work shortly after recovering his strength.

With a Little Help From His Friend

Like all snipers, Wali relies on efficient weapons to get the job done. He reaches out and touches someone with the help of his Finnish-made Sako TRG-42.

Apparently, Wali has been hiding out in a kid’s park. Twitter image courtesy of @war_noir

The weapon shown in these photographs is the aforementioned Sako TRG-42 sniper rifle. It was designed and built by Finnish firearms manufacturer SAKO in Riihimäki, a small town about 42.87 miles (69 km) north of Helsinki. It weighs 14.4 lbs (6.55 kg) without ammunition and sports an effective range of 1,500 meters. It has been designed to fire the powerful .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge.

It’s hard to tell from the photos, but Wali seems to have opted for the all-black stealth model featuring a black stock and bolt with phosphatized barrel and action. The stock on this weapon is reinforced with high-tech aluminum. It’s available in a folding or fixed configuration. The scope appears to be a Schmidt & Bender PM II.

According to the Sako website:

The solid vault-like action is cold hammer-forged from a special steel alloy. Integral 17 mm axial scope mounting rails have integral recoil stop-slots on the top of the receiver. The sturdy bolt with three locking lugs feeds rounds flawlessly from the centerline of a detachable staggered 2-row magazine. It has a reliable feed for various ammunition types. The bolt lift is at a 60° angle for fast bolt throw.

You can own one of these babies yourself for around $4,500. This just moved to the top of my Christmas list.

Working as Part of a Team

Wali says he is working alongside the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which he refers to as “awesome.” He and his Canadian partner have taken ground and made “advancements against the enemy” in the last few days. He noted that although others in his group have achieved kills, so far, he has not.

He does admit to having a couple of close calls.

Canadian Sniper Wali Returns Home

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“This war is like playing chess without knowing what the other pawns are. You know a bit but not enough. We got engaged with the Russians in very close distance, like 50 metres, and at that point they knew we were there. I was in a house where they shot the room right beside me with shells from a tank, I was about three metres away. We were lucky. Now I know how it feels to be engaged by a tank.”

On one of the first Ukrainian patrols he was part of, one of his colleagues was shot and needed to be evacuated to a medical facility. He survived, Wali said.

The Canadian sniper has described how amazed he is at how different the Ukrainian war has been compared to other warzones he has been in.

“It’s not like everything collapsed, there’s still internet. Most combat zones have no electricity and no water and it’s chaos. If you go in the centre [in Kyiv], it’s alright. In one of the patrols I was in an amazing condo — you could have the same one in Toronto. There was an espresso machine.”

He noted regarding the situation in Kyiv: “It’s like fighting in downtown Toronto.”

Unorganized, Ineffective Russian Troops

“Attacks by Russian troops have not been sophisticated,” Wali said.

He continued:
“The whole war effort is amateur. [The Russians] are not awesome. They don’t have the capabilities of NATO forces. Russia is a poor country and it reflects in their weapons. They destroy everything, they just keep shooting at houses again and again. One night, the Russians were shooting hundreds of shells not far from us. At one point, I was enjoying the view and thought, ‘What a beautiful sunset.’ But then I realized that these are houses burning.”

He said if countries wanted to help Ukraine, they should be sending modern weaponry to support troops in their fight. Without them, he said, the Ukrainian casualties would be much higher.

Just a Normal Soldier

Wali enjoys a good laugh at what he calls the false commentary about being the best sniper in the world.

“I’m just a normal soldier. I’m a good soldier, no doubt about it. But I’m a good soldier among other good soldiers.”

While he cannot discuss the specifics of his future plans in Ukraine, Wali said he will remain in the embattled country  for “some time yet” — until he has “done my duty.”