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5 Aug, 2023 15:27

Ukraine sanctions top esporters over playing on Russian team

Several Ukrainian pro-gamers have been targeted for not showing enough support for the country and, apparently, for not sharing winnings
Ukraine sanctions top esporters over playing on Russian team

The Ukrainian Esports Federation (UESF) has rolled out sanctions against several professional gamers associated with Team Spirit, a multinational esports organization that was formerly based in Russia.

The move was announced on Friday by UESF representative Maksim Raimer on social media. The restrictions affected three active members of Team Spirit, namely Dota 2 players Ilya Mulyarchuk (yatoro) and Miroslav Kolpakov (mira), as well as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player Miroslav Plakhotya (zont1x). The sanctions were also slapped on Igor Zhdanov (w0nderful), who has recently departed from the CS:GO chapter of the team.

It was not immediately clear what the restrictions involve specifically.

The players were targeted by the organization for not having shown enough “support” for Ukraine, in reality for not donating enough money to the state, Raimer explained.

“Four Ukrainians… played official matches on the same team with Russians. At the beginning of the war, Team Spirit called the war a war (sorry for the tautology), supported Ukrainians in its team/staff, moved its office to another country. But that was it. Verbal support only. No public support of Ukraine financially or in any other way,” he wrote.

Shortly after ongoing hostilities erupted into armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Team Spirit relocated its headquarters from Russia to Serbia. That choice was condemned by Raimer as well, with the UESF representative branding the country an “openly pro-Russian” one.

The announcement comes days after Team Spirit bagged the grand prize of $5 million at Dota 2 Riyadh Masters championship, defeating Team Liquid 3-1. The latter is a major multi-regional professional esports organization based in the Netherlands.