The 68th Brigade of the Ukrainian Land Forces shared a heartbreaking update on their Instagram account announcing the death of their member, Ostap “0ni” Onistrat. Aged just 21, Onistrat was a semi-professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) player known within the esports community.
Ostap Onistrat's death came just a month before he was due to celebrate his 22nd birthday. The young soldier served in the same brigade as his father, the commanding officer. "We will not forgive, we will avenge you!" was the chilling vow made by the brigade in response to the tragedy, also extending their condolences to Onistrat's bereaved father.
The news of Onistrat's death sent shockwaves throughout the esports community, drawing sympathy and condolences from many, despite his being relatively lesser-known. Prominent figures such as Ukrainian coach Sergei “lmbt” Bezhanov and the reigning world champion, French player Dan “apEX” Madesclaire, were among those who paid tribute to Onistrat.
Onistrat's death throws into sharp relief the challenges faced by Ukrainian esports players amid the ongoing conflict with Russia. Viktor “sdy” Orujjew, another Ukrainian CS:GO player, recently shared his chilling experiences of the conflict on social media. Orujjew, who made it to the quarter-finals with his team Monte at the last CS:GO World Championship in Paris, recalled witnessing a rocket attack shortly after his return home.
The ongoing conflict continues to disrupt life and pose significant danger to civilians and soldiers alike in Ukraine. Onistrat's untimely death underscores the harsh realities faced by many young Ukrainians, reminding the world once more of the human cost of the conflict. His memory lives on within the esports community and beyond, a poignant reminder of a life cut tragically short.