In an open letter shared on Twitter, Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation, has called on Xbox and PlayStation to cut off support for the Russian market by temporarily blocking all Russian and Belorussian user accounts.
In addition, Fedorov has called for the block of all Russian and Belorussian players from international esports events, and the stoppage of all international events planned to held in Russia and Belarus.
‘@Xbox @PlayStation You are definitely aware of what is happening in Ukraine right now,’ Fedorov said. ‘Russia declare [sic] war not for Ukraine but for all civilised world. If you support human values, you should live [sic] the Russian market.’
Fedorov believes a united move away from the Russian market will ‘motivate the citizens of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression’ currently happening in Ukraine.
‘In 2022, modern technology is perhaps the best answer to the tanks, multiple rocket launchers … and missiles. 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.’
The appeal follows moves from major, global entertainment bodies to ban releases in Russia. Disney, Sony and Warner Bros. have all paused film releases in Russia for the time being, ‘in light of the humanitarian crisis unfolding’.
As Fedorov says, there’s hope these moves will help to cause unrest among the Russian population, and turn the tide of sentiment against the government’s actions.
So far, Xbox and PlayStation have yet to directly respond to the letter, but while action is yet to be implemented, that may change in future as companies begin interrogating the impact of their international relationships.