Maks Chmerkovskiy & Bethenny Frankel Give Updates On Ukraine Aid


As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues on, former “Dancing With the Stars” professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy and his good friend Bethenny Frankel, a former “Real Housewives” star, are at the forefront of sending aid to both the refugees that have fled Ukraine and the people still there defending their country.

They have both recently updated their followers on the efforts. Here is what you need to know and how you can help.

Maks’ Father Has Organized A Drive To Send Supplies To Ukraine

Aleksandr Chmerkovskiy, the father to Maks and fellow pro dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy, has been helping gather supplies and raise money to ship them to Ukraine. The GoFundMe that is raising money for the shipping costs met its $100,000 goal just before midnight Eastern on March 13, Maks shared in an Instagram story.

The fundraising organization is called Baranova27, named for the address where Maksim and Valentin grew up in Odessa, Ukraine, before their familiy fled to the United States when the boys were 14 and 8, respectively, according to a 2017 interview they did with People. Alexsandr told North Jersey about the name and said, “I can’t go and defend the country, but in my heart I felt this is the only way for me to be helpful.”

The organization posted an Amazon wishlist online and with 48 hours, they had more than 20,000 items sent to them from people who want to help. There are still hundreds of items left, however, from medical supplies to infant formula to sleeping bags.

On his Instagram stories, Maks thanked his followers for helping the fundraising effort, writing, “We’re working hard and receiving overwhelming support from some amazing humans! Thank you to everyone and let’s keep this energy … There is so much work to be done and unfortunately this is just the beginning, but together we can make impossible possible. Thank you.”

Bethenny Frankel’s BStrong Initiative Has Raised Over $6 Million

Bethenny Frankel founded the organization BStrong to aid in humanitarian crises worldwide. In an interview with “Extra TV” from February 28, she said at that time that they had raised $1.5 million from “average Americans” donating just $50, which is incredible. She also said at the time that she has “never seen aid come in like this, ever … this is immense.”

But now two weeks later, on March 14, the aid total is up to $6 million. The latest update on the website says that they are working to get refugees out of Ukraine and to send aid into Ukraine.

The update reads:

[Global Empowerment Mission] Bstrong will focus primarily on its relocation assistance: Since the border cities are inundated with refugees, we are rapidly identifying people who have friends and family within the [European Union] that can house and support them. Your donation funds 100 percent of the refugee’s transportation, lodging, and airfare to the destination of their loved ones.

Also, we are helping refugees out of tents and into warm homes of Polish families through our connection with the Polish churches. … With your help and donations, we are able to scale these operations, evacuate women and children, relocate refugees, and provide dignity and safety to those who are have been traumatized.

In her interview with “Extra,” Bethenny talked about her relationship with Maks and his wife, fellow pro dancer Peta Murgatroyd, and how they were in contact while he was still stranded in Ukraine.

She said Peta sounded “scared” because even though Maks was saying he was safe, “anything can happen.” She said Maks seems strong, but he was “a little defeated” with all the “horrible images” he was seeing from around the country. She also praised the “constitution” of the Ukrainian people.

“The resistence is empowering. You’re just seeing the David and Goliath situation and you’re just seeing pride … It’s not over, but people are standing up for themselves and it’s a really amazing thing to applaud,” said Bethenny.

If you’d like to help the people of Ukraine, you can donate to BStrong or to the Chmerkovskiys’ efforts, or click here for a list of other charities that are sending aid and supplies.

“Dancing With the Stars” has not yet been renewed for season 31. If it is renewed, it will return in September 2022.

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