Former Dancing with the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy expressed excitement when he announced earlier this month that he was in Kyiv, Ukraine filming that country’s version of World of Dance. “I’m really happy to be back in Ukraine and be given an honor of a judge in this incredible project! I’m also really excited to get to see the top professional dancers of Ukraine, in all forms of dance!” he wrote.
He knew in the back of his mind that Russia could invade Ukraine, as tensions between the countries have been simmering for some time now. But his “sources” told him that it probably wouldn’t happen. So, he took the gig, not expecting that he’d wind up in the middle of a war zone. Maks is in Kiev right now, filming the series, as Russia invades his home country.
The ballroom dancer posted a series of videos from Kyiv, sharing his thoughts about the Russian invasion, which began last night (Feb 23)–early in the morning Kyiv time.
“I’m in Kyiv, contrary to what I probably should’ve done a while ago … and not that no one saw this coming, but everybody was hoping that the finality of this situation would be averted, that there wasn’t going to be these kind of aggressive measures,” Maks said, as sirens blared in the background.
In a comment alongside the video, Maks wrote, “I will never be the same. This is stressful and I’m getting old feelings back, like I’ve done this before.” Maks moved to the US from Ukraine with his family as a child.
“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****** war. Hug your loved ones.”
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In a second video, Maks teared up as he paned the camera to show the streets of Kyiv, filled with military and blaring sirens. He also films families with suitcases heading to bomb shelters. “You know me — I stay strong, and I don’t show it,” Maks said as he choked up.
“But I want to go back home. And I realize that I have the way to — I realize that I have a different passport, and my family is far away,” He continued. Maks is married to fellow DWTS pro Peta Murgatroyd and shares one child, 5-year-old son Shai Aleksander, with her. He’s worried about people that he knows who have no way to escape the strife.
He pleads with Russia to stop the conflict and warns Russian people who may be watching to not believe the propaganda.
“In 2022’s civilized world, this is not the way we do things,” he said to the camera. “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 of something, and however convenient it sounds in Moscow, however comfortable you are where you are in Russia, I just don’t think this is the right thing.”
“I have [had] a f****** incredible pleasure to spend, on the ground, about six months now, and I’ve fell back in love — I never fell out of love, but I know now who these people are. I know who this country is, what it represents, what it stands for. And it’s completely not what is being portrayed to the Russian people in order to justify this invasion,” he continued.
“There’s ALWAYS another way!” writes Maks. “WAR is NEVER an answer! #standwithukraine”
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