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Ukraine vice PM asks game companies to ban Russian accounts

In a post on Twitter, Ukraine’s vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, called on “game development companies and esports platforms” to temporarily ban Russian and Belarusian accounts.

@Xbox @PlayStation

You are definitely aware of what is happening in Ukraine right now. Russia declare war not for Ukraine but for all civilized world. If you support human values, you should live the Russian market! pic.twitter.com/tnQr13BsSv

— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) March 2, 2022

“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 — and I appeal to temporarily block all Russian and Belorussian accounts, 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 Russia and Belarus,” reads the post.

While Fedorov appealed to all gaming companies, he tagged two that have stayed silent during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: Xbox and Playstation, or Microsoft and Sony respectively. If these two companies end up taking action and banning Russian and Belorussian accounts, potentially millions of people would be unable to access their games or profiles.

However, Fedorov’s message goes out to all gaming companies, and that includes Valve, which owns Steam. While it’s not clear how many users would be locked out if Valve takes action, Russia makes up 5% of Steam’s total user base.

In the days since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, smaller developers located in or around the besieged nation have put out calls for help. Ukrainian developer GSC Game World, the studio behind the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise, has asked fans to send money to a Ukrainian national bank account linked to the country’s armed forces. Similarly, CD Projekt Group, which is based in Poland, has pledged to send the equivalent of $243,000 to a humanitarian aid organization working in Ukraine.

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