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Ukraine calls on PlayStation, Xbox to stop supporting Russian markets

And on the world of esports to shut out teams and tournaments.

The deputy prime minister of Ukraine has called on video game companies, esports organisations and specifically both PlayStation and Xbox to do more to pile pressure on the Russian regime.

In an open letter published via Twitter today, Ukraine deputy prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov called for support, and for companies to do "everything possible to protect Ukraine, Europe and finally the entire democratic world from bloody authoritarian aggression".

"@Xbox @PlayStation You are definitely aware of what is happening in Ukraine right now," Fedorov wrote. "Russia declare war not for Ukraine but for all civilized world. If you support human values, you should live [sic] the Russian market!"

"The Russian Federation has carried out a deceptive and outrageous military attack on my country!," Fedorov's open letter begins. "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. But we need your support - in 2022, modern technology is perhaps the best answer to the tanks, multiple rocket launchers (hrad) and missiles.

"I am sure that you will not only hear, but also do everything to protect Ukraine, Europe and finally, the entire democratic world from bloody authoritarian aggression - and I appeal to temporarily block all Russian and Belarusian accounts, temporarily stop the participation of Russian and Belarusian 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."

The games industry's next big release is Sony's Gran Turismo 7, which launches for PS4 and PS5 this Friday. Earlier this week, Eurogamer contacted PlayStation to ask if it would still go ahead with the game's launch in Russia. PlayStation did not respond.

In the world of film, Sony is one of several companies to have pulled upcoming releases from Russia. Its launch of the Spider-Man spin-off Morbius has been delayed there until further notice, alongside The Batman from Warner Bros., Disney's Turning Red and Paramount's Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Across the games industry, companies have responded with large donations to humanitarian organisations, and support for staff based in Ukraine. Yesterday, the PC and console release of The Chinese Room's Little Orpheus was delayed due to the game's Russian themes and content. Top esports team Navi also said it would no longer work with Russia's main esports group. Apple has paused product sales in the country.

But, so far, no major publisher has said it will pull an upcoming blockbuster game release.

Eurogamer has contacted both Microsoft and Sony for a response to today's open letter and will update with any reply.

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Tom Phillips

Deputy Editor

Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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