Maksim Chmerkovskiy rose to fame as one of the professional dancers on the popular competition series, Dancing with the Stars. He won the show once over the course of his 17 seasons competing, and was named the runner-up twice.
Maks married fellow DWTS pro Peta Murgatroyd in 2017 and they share a five-year-old son, Shai.
Maks was born in the Ukraine. His family moved to the U.S. in 1994 when he was a teenager.
Recently, Maks returned to his home country to film a new project. He is serving as one of the judges on World Of Dance, which was filming in Kyiv.
Just one week after Maks posted that filming for World of Dance was continuing in Kyiv, the Russian invasion began.
Maks took to social media to share what was going on. You can hear sirens in the background of the first video he shared, which was accompanied by the following caption:
“There’s ALWAYS another way! WAR is NEVER an answer! #standwithukraine P.S. 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 fucking war. Hug your loved ones.”
Maks followed up with a second video, saying how fortunate he is in comparison to others. He has an American passport and the financial means to leave the Ukraine whenever it is safe and possible to do so.
Meanwhile, Peta took to social media to ask her followers to pray for Maks’ safe return to her and their son in the U.S:
“Please pray for my husband Maks. I don’t usually ask these things from my social media network, however today is extremely hard and the next few will be even harder. My pain is overwhelming and I’m struggling, but you sending your positive light and love to him would mean the world to me. Truly I wish for nothing more…Please pray that he comes home soon. Please pray that he has a swift, safe exit.“
Makes shared additional video updates from Kyiv the following day (February 25). He captioned his first video with the message, “Please speak and post about all of this, so talking resumes and shooting stops!”
In his video, Maks spoke about how some of the people he was judging on World of Dance mere days ago are now, “getting guns and getting deployed to defend the country.”
He said, “the situation is pretty dire.”
Maks posted another video soon afterward. He captioned it, “I’m safe right now. Pray for Ukraine.”
In the video, Maks clarified he is not currently trying to leave the country:
“I’m staying here,” he said. “I’m gonna do my best to make sure that I’m as safe as possible, but I’m not moving towards the border currently. It’s, I heard, not safe…I made a decision not to try to go right now.“
Head below to watch the video in which Maks speaks about his decision to remain in the Ukraine for the time being. We’ll be keeping the Ukrainian people in our prayers.