Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov is appealing directly to Valve CEO Gabe Newell to direct the company to resume Steam payments to Ukrainian developers, which have been frozen since mid-March in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In a letter briefly posted on the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine's Facebook page last week (and confirmed by the Ministry to Game Developer), Fedorov thanks Newell for his support of Ukraine and calls on Valve to "resume making payments to all Ukrainian developers or provide them with a transparent and clear explanation why such payments cannot be made and expected time [sic] to address this issue."
In late March, several Ukrainian developers received notifications from Valve that its bank has frozen payments to Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, unless it is able to provide "intermediate information" for each wire transfer. It did not name which bank was making these requests, something Fedorov has also asked Valve to provide in his letter.
Fedorov pushed back on the notion that banks are currently required to hold payments sent to the Eastern European region, noting that "international sanctions have not been applied to any Ukrainian bank, unlike banks of the Russian Federation. No other digital distribution platform has suspended payments to Ukrainian creators since the onset of the war."
He also noted that many Ukrainian video game developers have been forced to live under temporary occupation or flee their homes, and have been left without income. "Now livelihoods of thousands of Ukrainian game developers depend on your company and we will be grateful for your support in these hardest times."
Fedorov has proven to be a potent ambassador for Ukraine's interests in the world of tech, cryptocurrency, and video games. He previously used his position to call for game platform owners like Microsoft, Sony, and Epic Games to deny Russia access to their services.
We've reached out to Valve for comment on this story, and will update it if the company is able to explain what it's doing to get payments back into the hands of Ukrainian developers.