Ukrainian esports team Na’Vi says it is ‘not going to leave the country’

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Ukrainian esports team Natus Vincere (aka Na’Vi) has issued a statement about the future of the organization amidst the ongoing Russian invasion, saying that the vast majority of its employees remain in Ukraine and are not going to leave.

“The war continues,” the team wrote. “Now every resident of Ukraine, including the Na’Vi employees, is doing everything possible. They protect the cities as part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and territorial defense, provide assistance in Ukraine as volunteers, or simply take care of loved ones.

“More than 90% of our employees are now in Ukraine and are not going to leave the country. We take people out of the most dangerous regions and help them find housing. On our cars, volunteers daily deliver humanitarian aid around Kyiv and the region, and all Na’Vi clothes are distributed to people who spend the second week in cold bomb shelters, to children in hospitals and orphanages.”

Na’Vi said that it will resume “covering matches, posting videos and communicating on social media” soon, but added that it will also continue to speak out about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and also plans to launch several programs aimed at supporting the Ukrainian people. It expressed gratitude to supporters, including ESL, Blast, and European and American esports teams, but noted that it has broken off relations with Tinkoff Bank, a Russian commercial bank with ties to ESForce, the parent company of Russian esports team Virtus.pro: “We cannot work with brands that are oriented at the market of the aggressor country.”

On March 1, Na’Vi announced a formal split with ESForce and its related organizations, including Virtus.pro, a Russian esports team that was recently banned from ESL competition under its own name. 

The good news, such as it is, is that Na’Vi will be able to maintain its rosters, although it warned that some changes may be necessary in the future. Na’Vi staff personnel will also apparently be taken care of: “These are more than 80 employees who almost always remain in the shadows. Now we stick together and help each other,” the team said.

Na’Vi is one of the oldest and most successful esports organizations currently operating. Formed in 2009 and based in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, it maintains teams for CS:GO, Rainbow Six Siege, Dota 2, Apex Legends, PUBG, Rocket League, and others. It won The International in 2011, has claimed titles at multiple Intel Extreme Masters tournaments, and recently captured the ESL Pro League season 14 championship.

Na’Vi’s statement did not address its current competitive situation, which is unclear at the moment: My assumption is that the team’s professional activities are currently on hold, but for now it remains on the ESL Pro League season 15 schedule. I’ve reached out to the team for more information and will update if I receive a reply.

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