‘Dancing With the Stars’ alum Maksim Chmerkovskiy flees Ukraine amid Russian invasion

Click to play video: 'Ukrainian-American dancer describes situation in Kyiv as he flees to L.A.'
Ukrainian-American dancer describes situation in Kyiv as he flees to L.A.
Ukrainian-American dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy shared video to his Instagram account from the Warsaw airport in Poland as he was boarding a flight to Los Angeles. He described Ukraine, which he had fled earlier this week, as being 'under steady flow of rockets' and added that civilians are being killed – Mar 2, 2022

Maksim Chmerkovskiy is on his way to the United States after fleeing his home country of Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

The Ukrainian-American Dancing with the Stars alum shared a video to Instagram Wednesday while waiting to board a flight from Warsaw, Poland to Los Angeles.

Speaking to his viewers, he pleaded that people not be “disgusted” with the general Russian population, but instead understand that Russian President Vladimir Putin “lied to his people for a very long time.”

“(Russian people) are confused, and they’re starting to be not sure,” Chmerkovskiy said. “Once they start to question, that’s all we need to have happen.”

He also called Russian citizens a “resilient bunch” and stated that Putin “does not represent all the Russians.”

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“I don’t want there to be hate, I don’t want there to be disgust with (Russia) as a nation. They are our brothers and sisters.”

Chmerkovskiy has been chronicling his exit from Ukraine this week on his Instagram account. He fled Kyiv in an overcrowded train Monday, eventually making his way to Warsaw.

He recently returned to his native Ukraine to host the country’s iteration of World of Dance.

“I will never be the same,” Chmerkovskiy captioned one of his earlier videos. “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.”

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He’s been reflecting on his privilege that’s allowed him safe passage out of the country, and said in a video on Tuesday that he’s grappling with a fair amount of guilt over his situation.

“I thought about it, my guilt. I started to think about this and I came up with this analogy,” he said.

“In ’94, I was put up for adoption and I got adopted by a beautiful, young, vibrant, exciting, forward-thinking country and I fell in love and I left Ukraine in ’94 a sad, sad person because I felt like I was getting unrooted… I was in this new country.

“But I turned around and said, ‘You know what? This is what I’m going to do.’ The 14-year-old Maks, with his family and all the love and support that he had, did stuff and here we are.”

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Chmerkovskiy has been keeping his followers updated on the events in Ukraine, sharing stories of airstrikes and tales of social injustice happening in both Russia and Ukraine.

On Wednesday, he posted photos to his feed that claimed to show Russian children behind bars, allegedly arrested for protesting against the war.

“MAKE RUSSIANS SEE THIS NONSENSE!!!” he wrote in the caption.

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