Ukraine deputy prime minister calls on Xbox and PlayStation to block Russian accounts

By Heidi Nicholas,
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, deputy prime minister of Ukraine and minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, has written and shared an open letter to Xbox, PlayStation, all game developers, and all esports platforms, asking for all Russian and Belorussian accounts to be temporarily blocked.

Over on Twitter (thanks, Eurogamer), Fedorov shared a letter which reads, "The Russian Federation has carried out a deceptive and outrageous military attack on my country. Just imagine, in 2022, cruise missiles attack residential neighbourhoods, kindergartens and hospitals in the heart of Europe. The armed forces and citizens are defending Ukraine till the end! The whole world is repelling the aggressor through the imposition of sanctions - the enemy must suffer significant losses." Fedorov calls for support, adding, "in 2022, modern technology is perhaps the best answer to the tanks, multiple rocket launchers (hrad) and missiles."

Fedorov continues: "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, 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 Russia and Belarus. We are sure that such actions will motivate the citizens of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression."

Fedorov's appeal appeared on Twitter today, so we haven't yet seen a response from the Xbox or PlayStation teams, but it is worth noting that Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and vice-chair, shared a statement about how it has taken action for "protecting Ukraine from cyberattacks; protection from state-sponsored disinformation campaigns; support for humanitarian assistance; and the protection of our employees." Smith notes, "In recent days, we have provided threat intelligence and defensive suggestions to Ukrainian officials regarding attacks on a range of targets, including Ukrainian military institutions and manufacturers and several other Ukrainian government agencies. This work is ongoing." Smith also details the steps being taken to "reduce the exposure of Russian state propaganda," and how Microsoft has supported humanitarian organisations like the ICRC as well as activating the Microsoft Disaster Response team "to provide technology support." Microsoft's teams are also providing "ongoing and extraordinary efforts" to help its employees; those in Ukraine or who have fled Ukraine, as well as those in Russia "who did not start this war and should not risk discrimination."

Several developers and publishers have pledged financial support for Ukraine, while today, Ubisoft explained how it would provide emergency housing and additional funding for staff in Ukraine.

Fedorov tweeted the letter with the message, "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 [sic] the Russian market!"
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Heidi tends to lean towards indie games, RPGs, and open-world games on Xbox, and when not playing Disney Dreamlight Valley, happily installs every new wholesome game that appears on Xbox Game Pass, before diving back into favorites like The Witcher 3. She's looking forward to Age of Mythology Retold, Everwild, Fable, and Avowed on the Xbox horizon. Heidi graduated with an MA in English Literature before joining the TrueAchievements team.
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