'Dancing With The Stars' Pro Plans Return To Europe To Join 'Efforts On The Ground'

Mason Joseph Zimmer
Maksim Chmerkovskiy  sitting with family in Ukraine
instagram | @maksimc

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine persists, we've seen citizens and institutions throughout the world find their own ways to support Ukraine and its people.

Whether that involves sending material and monetary aid to the nation itself or sanctioning and divesting from Russia, it's clear that most people are of the same mind about the way this situation has developed over the past two weeks.

All the while, we can see a mass exodus of civilians trying to flee Ukraine for safer pastures. And while one of the most high profile of these escaping individuals was Dancing With The Stars alumnus Maksim Chmerkovskiy, he's recently made it clear that his journey to Poland and then back to Los Angeles is something he's felt embarrassed and guilty to be able to do.

But while it's hard to blame someone for wanting to escape such a perilous conflict, it seems that he now intends to get as close to it as he safely can and help those who are still trying to find a way out.

Until the invasion suddenly began on February 24, Chmerkovskiy was working as a judge for Ukraine's "World of Dance" series.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy standing on balcony in front of building in Kyiv
instagram | @maksimc

But as he revealed in a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper, it was clear to his friends in the nation that disaster was looming. And while Chmerkovskiy would leave Ukraine days after the fighting started, he said that wasn't entirely his decision.

In his words, "All the time I was being told, 'If something happens, we'll take you out. You'll be the first to move out of the country.'"

Although men in Ukraine between the ages of 18 and 60 are being barred from leaving the country, Chmerkovskiy's situation was different because he's a U.S. citizen.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy in skull cap sitting in Kyiv hotel
instagram | @maksimc

But as active as he was about supporting and organizing local initiatives while he was there, Chmerkovskiy was haunted by the fact that he was able to leave while others in his position weren't.

As he put it, "I felt really bad going, and the feeling sunk in even worse because when I got to the train station, I realized it was all women and children."

That feeling led him to stand between train cars due to how tightly packed each car was and it hasn't abated since his return to America.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy  putting his hands over his face in Warsaw hotel
instagram | @maksimc

It's for that reason that he's now starting to plan an imminent return to Eastern Europe.

As he said, "I spent the last couple of days with survivor's remorse, and I'm currently working on an opportunity to go back."

Although it's unclear when this return is supposed to take place and where exactly he'll be going, what is clear is that he intends to support vulnerable Ukrainians up close.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy  sitting with family in Ukraine
instagram | @maksimc

In his words, "Probably sometime next week I'm going to go back to Poland and join efforts on the ground. Sort of want to justify my safe out that way."

h/t: CNN

Diply survey flyer
Diply | Diply

We want to hear from YOU so we can serve you better. Complete this quick survey and you will be entered to win a grand prize of $2,000, or a chance to win one of 10 Diply prize-packs!

Filed Under: