A Serbia-based eSports group, made up of Russian and Ukrainian players, recently clinched over a million dollars at The International 2023, a DOTA 2 competition hosted in Seattle.
In 2022, Team Spirit took a public stand against the conflict in Ukraine, stating:
War is the worst of all events. Nothing is more invaluable than human lives.
Historically, Team Spirit comprises representatives from Russia, Ukraine, and numerous other countries, demonstrating our international presence in the esports community. We currently have some of our players and staff members in Ukraine. With our families, relatives, and friends residing there, we anxiously worry for their safety and well-being.
We vehemently oppose war and violence. The course of human history has unequivocally shown us that peace is the only entity worth preserving. Stay safe,
Fast forward to August 2023, when the Ukrainian Esports Federation (UESF) put Illya Mulyarchuk (known as Yaotoro — who is often cited as the world’s top Dota2 player) and Myroslav Kolpakov (Mira) on the blacklist. According to UESF, both players had voiced antiwar sentiments, but their opposition to war was deemed insufficiently convincing.