FAKE HERO: “Canadian Ukrainian Volunteer” account posting stories on Twitter about daring war missions exposed as a fraud
By Cassie B. // Jul 08, 2022

After amassing a following of nearly 120,000 people on Twitter and sharing tales about daring war missions, an individual claiming to be a Canadian volunteer soldier fighting in Ukraine has been exposed as a fraud.


The "Canadian Ukrainian Volunteer" account was full of vivid descriptions of the owner's presumed action on the front line and often featured photos of a young man wearing uniforms and holding weapons. The bio on his Twitter account, which was set up in March, read: "Four-man team. Fighting in Kherson region. Zero tolerance for Russian or basement OSINT trolls. Can't sing, can't dance, can handle a sword a little."

In a series of tweets in April, he bragged about infiltrating Russian-occupied Kherson in southern Ukraine while riding a bike and disguising himself as a Russian soldier.

"Our contact had warned us to remain in the shadows and not to expose ourselves to spying eyes," he posted. "A window opening above us or a flicker of someone's cigarette from a balcony, a barking dog in the distance, all were enough for us to cling to the walls in the darkness and hold our breath."

In another post, the man could be seen with a cigarette in his mouth, his face blurred, with the caption: "Mike filled me in on the rats in the cellar. Their anguish sustains me. The more they squirm the harder I get."

However, some followers became skeptical of his claims, so internet sleuths started to take a closer look at his photos and found enough clues to determine that the account's personality was a fabrication.

Stolen photos and replica guns

Aric Toler of the investigations group Bellingcat revealed that the photos posted by Canadian Ukrainian Volunteer of what he claimed to be his dented body armor had been stolen. Posting photos of a classified ad featuring the same armor at the same angle, he noted: "The original photo was from Ukrainian police of someone illegally selling military equipment on Telegram."

Other Twitter users exposed how some of his gears were actually Airsoft replicas. A Twitter user with the name Kung Flu Panda accused him of posing with a fake shovel purchased from Amazon along with a fake gun and replica AK-47 magazines.

Meanwhile, an open-source intelligence expert who goes by the name NexusIntel came up with a plan to find out the so-called fighter's real location. He sent a news story to him via private message about other Canadians fighting in Ukraine using a link designed to capture his IP address. He found that the individual was actually in Ontario, Canada, rather than Ukraine. Canadian Ukrainian Volunteer immediately blocked NexusIntel after that. NexusIntel said: "The only truthful thing that he ever said was that he was Canadian, in my opinion,"

After that incident, the imposter grew more desperate and uploaded photos of his gear in an attempt to prove he was real. The move backfired spectacularly, with followers exposing his helmet, magazines and rifle as replicas. He closed his account a few days later.

NexusIntel tweeted about why he was compelled to look into it, saying that Ukrainians and foreigners are currently giving up their lives for Ukraine's right to exist. "There are people that have actually dropped everything to put it all on the line. People that have sacrificed all selflessly and he is not one," he tweeted. "He can bring attention to the conflict without all the theatrics, staged basement photos and costumes but he degrades those that serve in my opinion."

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