s1mple says he would never join Cloud9 because of Russian players

Declan Mclaughlin
s1mple at IEM Katowice 2020

Counter-Strike legend Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyljev sats he would never join Cloud9 because the team is full of Russian players.

s1mple has been absent from the Counter-Strike 2 spotlight as the esports legend is taking a break from competition as Valve continues tending with its newly-released title and he figures out some residency issues.

The Ukrainian player gave a timeline for his return during IEM Katowice, saying that he will return to NAVI’s active roster sometime after the PGL Copenhagen Major. In his absence, NAVI have placed top eight at IEM Katowice and top four at the Blast Premier World Final 2023.

In an interview with the Ukrainian media company Players after IEM Katowice, s1mple was asked about his free agent prospects and revealed why he would never join Cloud9.

s1mple won’t join Cloud9 anytime soon

According to a teaser for the interview put out by Players, s1mple said that every Ukrainian understands why he wouldn’t join Cloud9.

“I would never move to Cloud9 when there are four Russian players. It seems to me that every Ukrainian should understand this,” he said via a machine translation.

Cloud9 acquired Gambit Esports’ mostly Russian Counter-Strike roster in 2022 and has since shuffled around a few other players from the country in its lineup.

Currently, only two players on C9 represent Russia, Sergey ‘Ax1Le’ Rykhtorov and Kirill ‘Boombl4’ Mikhaylov. s1mple’s former NAVI teammates Denis ‘electroNic’ Sharipov and Ilya ‘Perfecto’ Zalutskiy requested to no longer represent the country on their Liquipedia profile following its invasion of Ukraine.

Cloud9 is also coached by a former Russian Counter-Strike player, Konstantin ‘groove’ Pikiner.

s1mple played with electroNic, Perfecto and Boombl4 following the start of the conflict. However, NAVI constructed an international roster in June 2023 and subsequently moved on from the Russian players.

The Ukraine-Russia conflict is still ongoing and its seems that s1mple has taken a more hard-lined stance against players from the country as the war has drawn on.