It has been a few weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine from all sides. We’ve all seen the horrifying updates and it is truly heartbreaking.
Dancing With The Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy was in Kyiv, Ukraine filming the dance show World of Dance, where he was serving as a judge, when Russia first began bombing his home country.
Maks was staying in a hotel in Kyiv and provided daily updates on his situation in Ukraine, as well as sharing many other photos and videos. he briefly went to the hotel’s bomb shelter with other guests and even went into the city where he was arrested, and then released. To see what he said in each of his updates, click here.
On February 28, he began to evacuate Ukraine. He is an American citizen so he was not required to stay in the country. Ukrainian men ages 18-60 have been prohibited from leaving the country.
Of his train ride to the border, Maks wrote on his Instagram stories, “I made it on the train. We’re headed to Warsaw [Poland] (hopefully). Train to Lviv [Ukraine] was not an option. The situations at the train station is insane. At first it feels manageable, but it gets A LOT worse when it comes time to actually board the train. I’m a big man with nothing but a backpack and it is TRAUMATIZING.”
After many hours on the train, he made it to Poland, where he said the people were “amazing.” Not long after, he made it home to Los Angeles, where he had a tearful reunion with his wife, fellow DWTS pro Peta Murgatroyd.
He spent a couple weeks with his family, including his wife and their 5-year-old son, Shai, but immediately upon his return, he promised to return to Poland to help with relief efforts. In an Instagram post on March 20th, Maks revealed he is back in Poland and has set up a charitable organization to help distribute aid.
“My father and my brother [DWTS Pro Val Chmerkovskiy], together with a lot of people that we work with all the time, that we’re just friends with, and with the help of whom, we’ve started our organization, Baranova 27,” he said. “For those of who’ve been following, Baranova 27 is the address where my father, myself and Val were born, in Odesa in Ukraine. So, that’s where, sort of our roots are at. And we’ve been working diligently on making Baranova 27 something that, as big as it took off, that it can continue that way.”
Baranova 27 have started a GoFundMe, which as of press time has already raised $141,968. To donate to Baranova 27 and to help Ukranian relief efforts, click here.
See his full video update below.