Prominent CSGO streamer and pro esports player Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev has donated one million Ukrainian hryvnias (or a little over $33,000 USD) to the Ukrainian army, according to a post on his Instagram Stories. This comes just after s1mple gave an emotional plea for unity during the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice tournament over the weekend.
Russia invaded Ukraine last week. Russian forces, acting on President Vladimir Putin’s orders, began a “special military operation” in Ukraine, which has killed hundreds of innocents and displaced thousands more as Russia moves in to occupy various parts of the independent nation. This devastating news has no doubt shaken s1mple, a Ukrainian player for popular first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on the Kyiv-based esports organization Natus Vincere. S1mple’s been tweeting about the Russia-Ukraine conflict since it erupted, tweeting his “city is shelled [right] fucking [now]” on February 23.
Now, the esports player is putting his money where his mouth is.
S1mple spent much of the last weekend at IEM Katowice, an annual tournament in Poland where tons of esports teams for games like CSGO and League of Legends compete for a massive $1 million prize pool. S1mple and his team at Natus Vincere were unfortunately knocked out of the tournament by G2 Esports on February 25, but before leaving the stage, he delivered a speech calling for “peace for Ukraine and the whole world.”
“All of us are] scared, and all of us need to show [an] example [at] this tournament for [the] whole world,” s1mple said. “We need to stay together as a unit because our fans, because our friends, because everyone who’s gonna watch this tournament. We all need to stay humans first.”
A couple days later, Ukrainian Olympic sports and NBA broadcaster Vitalii Volochai reported that s1mple had donated $33,265 to the Ukrainian army, though s1mple has not publicly said anything yet.
It is noteworthy that, while many individuals and organizations, including Cyberpunk 2077 maker CD Projekt Red, are donating to the Ukrainian Red Cross or other humanitarian organizations, s1mple has opted instead to give money to Ukraine’s military. Perhaps, being based in Kyiv, his primary concern is repelling the invaders in the hopes of keeping his city, his country, and his people as safe as possible.
Kotaku has reached out to s1mple for comment.
While this may be his most eyebrow-raising donation thus far, this isn’t s1mple’s first time willingly parting ways with money. Back in November 2018, he donated all the money he made from the FACEIT Pro League tournament to the men’s health charity organization MovemberUK. The full total was never disclosed, but that event had a weekly prize offering of $5,200.