'Dancing With The Stars' Pro Shares Updates From Ukraine As Russia Invades

Danielle Broadway
city life in Ukraine
Unsplash | Maksym Tymchyk

As Russian troops began storming the Kyiv, the capital city of the Ukraine on Thursday, Dancing With The Stars choreographer and judge, Maksim Chmerkovskiy shared with the world that he will "never be the same." After immigrating with his family to New York in 1994, he still carries the trauma of escaping an oppressed Ukraine — now, he's trapped once more. Chmerkovskiy has taken to social media to share his ongoing struggle, here's what he's said so far.

He returned to the Ukraine to host 'World of Dance'.

Earlier this month, Chmerkovskiy was thrilled to be hosting a version of World of Dance for Ukrainian TV. He wrote on Instagram, "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!" It began as a cherished homecoming and opportunity to polish new talent.

Things quickly went wrong

While many heard that Putin was moving troops to the border of the Ukraine, something he's done before, his decision to invade has instantly caused death and destruction, and it only seems to be the beginning.

Chmerkovskiy captioned his first Instagram video with the words, "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 [expletive] war. Hug your loved ones."

Sirens could be heard in Chmerkovskiy's video.

a police car siren
Unsplash | Scott Rodgerson

Already, over 137 people in the Ukraine have died and over 300 are injured as president Vladimir Putin continues to attack. In the background of Chmerkovskiy's video, sirens and sounds of urgency can be heard. While he's near government buildings and able to use social media at this time, danger seems to be looming close by.

He asking for people to "speak and post" about it.

In his second Instagram video, Chmerkovskiy urges people to speak out against Russia’s violence, with the words, “Please speak and post about all of this, so talking resumes and shooting stops!” 

Many who publicly challenge Putin, particularly those in the Ukraine, are in constant risk of being persecuted for challenging his authority. However, Chmerkovskiy believes it’s important for people to take a stand to finally end the violence. With over 480K likes, it looks like many people agree that it’s time to break silence on issues that are deciding factors on whether people live or die.

His wife is asking for support.

As the nightmare unfolds, Chmerkovskiy’s wife, Peta Murgatroyd, asks for people to pray for her husband and others in danger. She also took to Instagram with the words, “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.”

Murgatroyd, a professional Latin dancer, who’s known for her appearance on Dancing With The Stars Pro, wrote, “I have FAITH. I have HOPE. I have PRAYED so hard,” when it comes to Ukraine and the people living there. She and their five-year-old son, Shai, are both in the United States awaiting Chmerkovskiy’s safe return.

Chmerkovskiy is safe, for now.

Only hours ago, Chmerkovskiy he posted an Instagram video, saying,“I’m safe right now. Pray for Ukraine.” His update comes after more explosions and gunfire come out of the Ukraine as the Russian invasion continues. Even the United States placing more sanctions on Russia and NATO providing the Ukraine with more weapons, the attack presses on with more casualties accumulating by the hours.

While Chmerkovskiy is safe for now, anything can change at any moment. It’s as his wife said, a time for “hope” and “prayer.”

He knows that his home country doesn’t deserve this.

buildings in the Ukraine
Unsplash | Nataliia Kvitovska

Before this horror was unleashed, Chmerkovskiy was falling back in love with the Ukraine. He explained in his second Instagram video that, “I know now who these people are, what this country is, and what it stands for. It is totally not what is being portrayed to the Russian people in order to justify this invasion."

While he expresses gratefulness for being one of the people with access to a bomb shelter and a passport, he mourns the way both he and the people of his home country are being treated.

Putin has threatened anyone opposing Russia's invasion.

protestor holding sign
Unsplash | Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona

The New York Times reported that Putin told those that try to stop these attacks,"must know that Russia's answer will be immediate, and will lead to such consequences as you never experienced in your history." So, social media footage from Chmerkovskiy and others could be viewed as intervention, and therefore a challenge, to Putin's invasion plans. In addition to the violence surrounding him, Chmerkovskiy's words may be met with retaliation.

Chmerkovskiy pleads with Ukraine to "hold on"

About an hour ago, he posted his most recent Instagram video that read, "Украина, держись!," which means "Hold on Ukraine" in Russian. Music, most likely the Ukrainian anthem, is playing somewhere outdoors near where Chmerkovskiy is. When he hears the music, he speaks in Russian, sounding emotional. While he doesn't appear on camera, he sounds happy to hear the music and hopeful that the spirits of his people have not dimmed.

People are sending their love.

silhouette of man praying as the sun is setting
Unsplash | gazali marimbo

Each and every video that Chmerkovskiy has posted has been greeted with love and support for both him and others in the Ukraine. One person wrote, "Praying for your safety and for Ukraine."

Former Olympic Volleyball Gold medalist, Misty May commented on his first video, saying, "So sad and I have been up all night following…..praying for all the Ukraine people and just completely unnecessary!"

There are several organizations to connect with in order to support those in the Ukraine now. We can hope that people do indeed keep hope alive and support those in need during these difficult times.