Less than one week ago, the world watched in shock as areas of Ukraine were bombed by Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin sent thousands of troops into Ukraine, and the country is currently fighting to keep the troops back. Most recently, Russian troops advanced on the capital city of Kyiv. While the news has been doing its best to keep viewers up-to-date on the crisis, there are some who are sending first-hand reports over social media. One of those people is Dancing With the Stars star Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
Chmerkovskiy was born in Odessa, Ukraine, when the country was still a part of the USSR. Chmerkovskiy began dancing when he was only four years old and continued to dance when his family emigrated to the United States in 1994. He began competing as a professional dancer on Dancing With the Stars in 2006. He was an instant hit with the fans and became known as “the bad boy of the ballroom”.
Chmerkovskiy was in Ukraine before the Russian invasion because he had recently joined the new show World of Dance as a judge. Since the invasion, Chmerkovskiy has been keeping his followers updated on the situation in the country. He has spoken of friends who have been on busses for almost 24 hours as they try to escape to Poland. Other friends have helped their children escape and then gone back to join the Ukrainian resistance fighters.
Chmerkovskiy also shared that he had been arrested. While he assured his social media followers that he was fine, he called the experience “a crazy reality check”.
“There’s a lot of fighting everywhere. Streets are crazy. At one point I got arrested… but all good, promise. That was probably the least traumatizing moment in this whole thing as far as Ukraine is concerned, but for me it was just a reality check… a crazy reality check.”
View this post on Instagram
Chmerkovskiy also shared that he is planning to leave Ukraine as soon as possible. He is planning to head to the Polish border in the coming days.
“I’m gonna try to make my way out. I’m gonna try to start getting towards the border. I have options. My options are better than most people’s, unfortunately, but I am just a little nervous, to be honest with you. But I think it’s gonna be alright. Well, I know it’s gonna be okay. So, I’m gonna just keep you posted through this process as I can. I just want a favor from everybody. Just don’t panic if I kinda disappear for a minute cause I know a lot of people watching now from here that I’m just not contacting, my friends, my distant family. I’m just not answering a lot of texts and a lot of calls and a lot of, mostly I just speak to Peta and my parents and my brother.
Chmerkovskiy shares a 5-year-old son with fellow Dancing With the Stars alum Peta Murgatroyd. Murgatroyd is currently living in Los Angeles with their son. Maksim’s brother Valentin is also in the States with his wife, and they are all asking for fans to send positive thoughts for Maksim’s safe return.