Former “Dancing With the Stars” professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy is a native Ukrainian and is currently in Kyiv filming the Ukraine version of “World of Dance,” which he joined as a judge for the upcoming season.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba posted on social media, “Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes. This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”
Maks took to Instagram to say that “war is never the answer” and to give his followers an update on his safety.
Maks Said He Is ‘Crying’ As He Types His Post
In an emotional Instagram post, Maksim wrote, “There’s ALWAYS another way! WAR is NEVER an answer!”
I will never be the same. This is stressful and I’m getting old feelings back, like I’ve done this before. This does feel like the way it was when and why we left in the 90s. Like my old PTSD I’ve finally fixed is coming back. I literally only just forgot about those “always on the edge” feelings and actually started worrying about things like BBQ grills. I’m crying as I’m typing this because all man deserves to worry about “BBQ grills” and not f***ing war. Hug your loved ones.
Maksim and his younger brother Valentin, who is also a “Dancing With the Stars” pro, and their parents fled Ukraine after their family business was targeted by what they believed to be a mafia arson attack, the brothers told People in 2017. At the time, Maks was 14 and Val was 8, so it would have been 1994.
In the accompanying video on the Instagram post, Maks reassured his followers that he is safe and is taking precautions — though as he recorded the video, sirens could be heard going off in the background, which is disconcerting.
“Yes, I’m here, I’m in Kyiv, contrary to what I probably should’ve done a while ago, but again, everybody has sources and resources. I have mine and I trust my sources and no one saw this coming — not that no one saw this coming but everyone was hoping that the finality of the situation would be averted. That there was not going to be this kind of aggression, this kind of aggressive measures,” said Maks.
He also posted a video of people walking in the streets with luggage, presumably in attempts to flee the Ukrainian capital city.
In a second post, there are military vehicles driving through the streets as more sirens go off.
“Honestly, I’m getting really emotional. It’s been really difficult. You know me, I stay strong and I don’t show it, but, um, but I wanna go back home and I realize that I have, that I have the way to,” said Maks, holding back tears. “I realize that I have a different passport and my family is far away and what I’m realizing is that my friends whose kids are here and whose moms, dads are here, elderly people are here, they can’t just escape, you know?”
He also pleaded with the Russians not to believe “the propaganda” and the “complete nonsense that’s being talked about” in regards to Ukraine.
I’m not someone at this point who is pleading for someone else’s safety from a far distance, from a safe distance. I’m somebody who’s about to go into a bomb shelter because s***’s going down, right? So I think that in 2022, civilized world, this is not the way we do things and I think that as a powerful, forward-thinking nation and not a third-world kind of country I think the Russians need to get up and actually say something because no one’s opinion is being heard. This is all one man’s ambition … however convenient it sounds in Moscow, however comfortable you are where you are in Russia, I just don’t think that this is the right thing, this is the right steps, these are the correct actions.
He continued, “I’m uneasy. I’m very scared. I don’t know what words to use, but I do know at the very least that I have a chance. I have a passport and I have a way out. A lot of people here do not and it’s f***ing nonsense.”
Maks finished by asking his followers to please not bombard his wife, dancer Peta Murgatroyd, with messages and questions at this time. Maks and Peta married in 2017 and have a son, Shai.
UPDATE: Peta has posted a message about Maks, asking her followers and friends to please pray for his safe return.
The original post continues below.
Later, Maksim updated his followers in an Instagram story where he assured everyone that he is safe.
“Quick update – Scared bunch of people, it’s tough, it’s scary, it’s very uneasy. But I’m safe. I have options, I think, that are great options. The main thing is that I’m safe,” said Makim.
He added, “But like I said, a lot of people are not and this is very, very, very real what’s happening right now. I’m packed, I’m ready. My hotel has a bomb shelter. We can go there now, but a few of us decided to maybe wait until we hear the sirens and then we’ll be down there.”
He finished by saying that he will try to keep everyone updated and “show you what it’s really like here.
“But the reality is that it’s exactly what it looks like on TV. I hear from my friends in other towns, in other cities that things got a lot more real. There’s a full military situation going on,” said Maksim.
Maks’ Friends & Fans Are Praying For His Safe Return
In his Instagram comments, fans and friends alike are sharing their concerns and support.
“Dancing With the Stars” alum Sabrina Bryan wrote, “Praying for you Maks, and everyone in Ukraine going through this devastating time! Thank you for your brave post, we all love you.”
“Dancing With the Stars” troupe member Britt Cherry added, “Sending love and prayers to you and the people of Ukraine. Please be safe.”
“Maksim, I’ve watched you for years on DWTS. I’m so grateful you posted this. It’s so important for those of us in the US to get a glimpse and see the PEOPLE this is affecting. I’m so sorry for your beautiful country. Praying for Ukraine,” wrote one of his followers.
Another wrote, “Been glued to the news. Beyond scary and sad. War is NEVER the answer. Love, strength and prayers to you and all from across the pond. Stay safe.”