Russian ‘Dota 2’ team disqualified from tournament after drawing pro-war ‘Z’ during match

The disqualified player claimed he drew the letter 'Z' - used to support Russia's invasion of Ukraine - "by accident"

A Russian esports team in Dota 2 has been disqualified from a tournament, after one of the organisation’s players allegedly drew a Z on the minimap to show support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As reported by Yahoo (via PC Gamer), Russian Dota 2 player Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko and the rest of VP’s roster have all been disqualified from a qualifier for the ESL One Stockholm Major.

VP was playing under the team name Outsiders to avoid ESL’s ban on Russian teams when the incident occurred.


During a pause in the game, Moskalenko drew a Z on the in-game minimap, which was quickly scribbled over by his teammates. In Russia, the letter Z has been adopted as a symbol used to show support for the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

It’s also worth noting that this took place during Outsiders’ match against Mind Games, a team with several Ukrainian players.

In the above statement shared by, Moskalenko denied drawing the symbol on purpose.

“There was a long pause in the game, the guys and I were talking and drawing on the minimap. When we realised what exactly my drawing turned out to be, we tried to cover it up. I didn’t mean to offend anyone, it all happened by accident.”


Despite Moskalenko’s denial, tournament organiser Beyond The Summit has disqualified Outsiders, and “all future matches Outsiders would have played are forfeit as well.”

Dota 2
Dota 2. Credit: Valve Corporation has also terminated its contract with Moskalenko, with a statement shared on April 30:

“Any actions have consequences, whether intentional or not. has been consistently opposing any cases of inciting hatred in esports. The club terminates contract with Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko for his diminishing actions that led to disqualification from the tournament and caused a great deal of harm to our relationship with the worldwide esports society.”

However, added that “the severity of the punishment is shocking” and disagrees with Valve‘s decision to disqualify the entire Dota 2 team “based on a drawing on a minimap”.

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