NAVI COO Oleksii ‘xaoc’ Kucherov has guaranteed that his organization has not opened talks with Virtus.pro with a view to signing CS:GO star Mareks ‘YEKINDAR’ Gaļinskis.
The Latvian star is one of the most sought-after players in the CS:GO scene, with NAVI among the teams he has been heavily linked with since being moved to Virtus.pro’s bench in the aftermath of PGL Major Antwerp.
The rumour mill has gone into overdrive in recent days after NAVI removed Kirill ‘Boombl4’ Mikhailov from their active lineup. The Ukrainian organization justified the decision with “high reputational risks for the club” amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
On Twitter, xaoc has dismissed the rumors linking NAVI with the player, saying: “I deny that we are in talks for YEKINDAR.”
Boombl4’s removal has freed up a slot on NAVI’s roster, but YEKINDAR is a completely different player than the Russian, who took the team’s reins in late 2019 following Danylo ‘Zeus’ Teslenko’s retirement.
A move for YEKINDAR would also require NAVI to engage in talks with Virtus.pro, whose parent company, ESforce Holding, came under fierce criticism from the Ukrainian organization on March 1 over the war in Ukraine.
“While NAVI employees and players spend their days in bomb shelters, ESFORCE Holding publicly denies the horror that is now happening in Ukraine,” NAVI wrote at the time, adding that it was cutting ties with the Russian holding company and all of its subsidiaries.
In the most recent episode of Dexerto’s Pop Flash, Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields stated that NAVI should not conduct business with Virtus.pro. “It cannot happen,” he said. “It’s an utter violation of everything they stand for.”
NAVI are in a race against time to find a new player before their next event, the BLAST Premier Spring Final, which will take place between June 15-19 in Lisbon.