Natus Vincere, one of the largest esports organizations in the world and one based in Ukraine, has publicly cut ties with the ESforce Holding company. In a statement, Na’Vi said ESforce has “publicly denied the horror that is now happening in Ukraine,” which has been caused by the Russian military’s invasion of Ukraine.
ESforce Holding, which claims to be “the leader of the Russian esports,” holds ownership of the world-renowned Virtus.pro organization, the primary CIS esports media site Cybersport.ru, and the Epic Esports Events company that runs EPICENTER events for CS:GO, Dota 2, and other titles.
Na’Vi has been outwardly outspoken in support of Ukraine, where it is based, since the invasion began on Feb. 24 following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration of war. The organization has used its profile to share updates, as well as links to fundraisers and charities that provide humanitarian aid to those affected.
Na’Vi’s world champion CS:GO roster recently attended the IEM Katowice event, and after receiving their trophy for winning the Intel Grand Slam, team superstar s1mple spoke candidly to the crowd at the Spodek Arena. During his short speech, he called for peace for Ukraine, spoke highly of his Russian and Ukrainian teammates, and reminded everyone that “we all need to stay humans first.”
Na’Vi’s decision to cut ties with ESforce comes the same day the BLAST tournament organizer banned Russian-based teams from competing at BLAST Premier events and canceled the CIS qualifier. While the majority of the players on Na’Vi’s CS:GO roster are Russian, the organization itself is based in Ukraine and therefore would not be banned. The teams playing for Virtus.pro and Gambit, as well as other Russian-based organizations, would be banned.