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Russian DOTA 2 Player Dumped Over Alleged In-Game Support Of Ukraine Invasion

An otherwise unremarkable (at least for the wider public) weekend of DOTA 2 action got a lot more controversial on Saturday.’s Ivan ‘Pure’ Moskalenko was caught allegedly drawing a symbol of support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over the in-game minimap.

It Looks Like A PlayStation Classic, But Your Grappling Hook Is A Frog

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As Yahoo first reported, during a qualifier for the ESL One Stockholm Major, Pure could be seen drawing the letter “Z” on the map. That letter, seen painted on Russian military hardware during the first weeks of the attack, has grown to become a symbol of support among Russian people for the actions of their armed forces and president Vladimir Putin.

(If you want to read more on the mystery of the symbol and how it has blown up, The Guardian has a rundown on some of the theories of its origin, which are murky since there’s no “Z” in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet.)

You can see Pure draw the “Z” in the top-left corner of the map in the video below, before he pauses and starts to cross it out. His teammates, drawing in different colours, can also be seen quickly trying to draw over the letter.

Their efforts were for naught; people did notice, and quickly, leading Pure and to issue an explanation/apology, which boiled down to Pure claiming the symbol—drawn by a Russian on a Russian team playing against opponents featuring two Ukrainian players— “happened by accident.”

The organisers of the qualifying tournament were having none of it. A statement released by Beyond The Summit the next day said:

Following that action, themselves released a statement, which spends most of its time disputing the severity of the punishment. “Valve has a certain history of imposing disciplinary measures, but disqualifying the whole team from a DPC tournament based on a drawing on a minimap by single player sets up a whole new precedent,” they said, before adding at the end that Pure has had his contract terminated for “a great deal of harm to our relationship with the worldwide esports society.”

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