Ukrainian official calls for game developers to leave Russian market
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Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, penned a letter on Wednesday to game developers (tagging Microsoft and Sony) to temporarily pull out of the Russian market, and to block Russian and Belarusian esports teams and players from participating in esports events. Fedorov also called for any international events in those regions to be canceled in solidarity with Ukraine as Russia attempts to invade the country.

“You are definitely aware of what is happening in Ukraine right now. Russia declared war not [on] Ukraine, but [on all of the] civilized world,” Fedorov said. “If you support human values, you should [leave] the Russian market!”

The member of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine asked for sanctions using “modern technology,” mainly game developers and their titles, to help support the Ukraine against Russia.

“The whole world is repelling the aggressor through the imposition of sanctions — the enemy must suffer significant losses. But we need your support — in 2022, modern technology is perhaps the best answer to the tanks, multiple rocket launchers and missiles,” Fedorov wrote in a letter to game developers. “I appeal to temporarily block all Russian and Belorussian accounts, temporarily stop the participation of Russian and Belorussian teams and gamers in all international esports events and cancel all international events holding on the territory of Russian and Belarus. We are sure that such actions will motivate the citizens of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression.”

Some tournament organizers have already uninvited Russian teams from participating in international tournaments, such as BLAST Premier, while some teams are pulling out of events for Russian titles, like Alliance in the Dota 2 Champion’s League. Natus Vincere, a Ukrainian esports organization, have also severed ties with Russia-backed organizations, along with other teams.

At the time of this writing, no game developers have directly responded to Fedorov’s letter, but many technology companies, like Apple and Google, have pulled out of the Russian market or deactivated their services in the country. The movie industry has also pulled out of the market, as multiple film production companies have halted the release of their films in Russia.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict began on Feb. 24 and has since cause hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens to flee as refugees from the nation. This conflict has also caused mass civilian death as reported by the United Nations and Reuters.

Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.