Multiple Ukrainian Apex Legends professional players have announced their departure from Kyiv this week, amid bombings and the siege of the city, as Russia continues their invasion of Ukraine
Ukrainian Apex Legends player for GMT Maksym "Max-Strafe" Stadniuk announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he is fleeing Kyiv. He plays for GMT, a European team based out of Azerbaijan where he is the only Ukrainian player.
"We are leaving city... Kyiv looks not the same anymore... Barricades and army in every corner, civil ppl with guns," Max-Strafe said on Twitter. "We barely get into train. Skipped first two. It was most painful goodbye to my father in tears. Because we couldn't convince to leave with us. He stays to watch house."
Also on Tuesday, Max-Strafe posted an image from the basement where he has been hiding to stay safe from the ongoing violence in Kyiv. Max-Strafe captioned the photo: "This is how the basement in which we hide looks like and all the windows in my house. I will never forgive the Russians for war and hysteria with tears of my mother."
In a very similar situation, Ukrainian NaVi Apex player Oleksander "Sanya" Bokuchava also announced that he is fleeing Kyiv for Lviv, a city on the far west side of Ukraine. He stated on Monday: "idk how to feel, I am leaving Kyiv, but my family is left here, still don't know whether this is the right or wrong call to make. Hope they will be safe."
Sanya's teammate Dmytro "Xron" Sakharuk is also Ukrainian but has not publicly stated any updates about his situation during this conflict.
The Apex community has come around to support the Ukrainian players affected by the war. In a video posted last week, Danish GMT player Casper "Gnaske" Præstensgaard published a compilation of numerous Apex players and community figures who sent in video messages of support for Ukrainian esports players like Max-Strafe, Sanya, and Xron, among others.
Additionally, the Apex Legends ALGS series itself was put on hold last week across the globe due to the invasion. The official Apex Legends Esports account stated: "In light of the events unfolding in Ukraine, we are pausing all ALGS competition. We will provide an update for when tournaments will resume as soon as we can."
The ongoing invasion was met last week with calls for peace from NaVi CS:GO legend S1mple, who was competing in Katowice, Poland at the time of the invasion. NaVi, itself a Ukrainian organization, has also spoken out to condemn the invasion, including cutting ties this week with ESForce for their pro-Russia tweets.
Also in response to the invasion, BLAST Pro Series banned Russian-based orgs until further notice, while the VCT has delayed EMEA Challengers 1 Qualifiers amid the unrest.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.