Stephan Adams
Stephan Adams, fourth from left, with the Canadian Navy in the Persian Gulf. (Photo supplied by Stephan Adams)

In his first interview, Canadian Armed Forces veteran Stephan Adams speaks with Canadian Affairs about his time as a volunteer soldier in Ukraine. He saw heavy combat in Donetsk Oblast, working as a sniper on a reconnaissance unit. He had many near-death experiences, participated in fierce firefights and won a medal for his service.

Before volunteering in Ukraine, Adams spent a decade in the Canadian navy, including working as a sharpshooter in the Naval Tactical Operations Group. When Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, 2022, he dropped everything to join Ukraine’s international legion.

Fin DePencier: What was going through your head when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022?

Stephan Adams: I had all that training that I never used… They put a lot of money and a lot of training into me… They specifically said you will never ever ever use your training. Canada won’t risk their people. They don’t want us in the papers.

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Fin DePencier is a journalist, photographer and filmmaker based in Toronto. Over the past few years, he has reported on the ground from Ukraine, Armenia, Lebanon and Kazakhstan as a correspondent for Palladium...