Ukraine calls on PlayStation, Xbox, and other gaming platforms to block Russia

Russian gaming block ukrainian flag and phil spencer

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, has released a signed statement calling for “all game development companies and esports platforms” to follow Apple’s lead and stop supporting their services in Russia following the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Disseminated via a tweet directed at Xbox and PlayStation, Fedorov’s statement says that “in 2022, modern technology is perhaps the best answer to the tanks, multiple rocket launchers , and missiles.”

He goes on to outline how he’d like the videogame industry to help. “I appeal to a temporary block of 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 [held] on the territory of Russia and Belarus … We are sure that such actions will motivate the citizens of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression.”

To reinforce the seriousness of the situation, Fedorov describes the situation on the ground. “Cruise missiles attack residential neighbourhoods, kindergartens and hospitals in the heart of Europe … I am sure that you will not only hear, but also do everything possible to protect Ukraine, Europe and, finally, the entire democratic world from bloody authoritarian aggression.”

Since the beginning of the invasion, Fedorov has been publicly calling on multiple major tech companies to halt sales and cut off access for those in Russia, including Apple, Google, and Visa.

So far, the videogame industry has remained relatively light on Russia-related bans and sanctions. Yesterday, esports tournament organiser BLAST announced that it will be banning Russian CS:GO teams from all its events for the foreseeable future, making it one of the first major gaming sanctions being imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

We’re yet to see a response from Microsoft or Sony on the matter, but Russian players may want to brace themselves in case the companies decide to act on Federov’s plea for assistance.