Maksim Chmerkovskiy trying to flee Ukraine: ‘I am just a little nervous, to be honest’

A man sits on a set next to a plant
Dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy, seen in 2020 in New York City, said Monday that he’s trying to leave Ukraine.
(Michael Loccisano / Getty Images)

Dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy is finally heading for Ukraine’s border with Poland after weathering the war in his home country since it started last week.

Looking much more worn down than he did several days ago, the “Dancing With the Stars” veteran spoke out via Instagram, as he has been doing regularly since the Russian invasion began. He first told stories of one friend who had been stuck for days on a bus trying to get out of the country and of other friends who had joined the homegrown ground defense force to fight the invaders.

“Just a lot of fighting everywhere. Streets are crazy,” Chmerkovskiy said. “At one point, I got arrested.” He didn’t give details about when or why, only that it had happened right near where he was broadcasting from and that things were all good now.


Then he said he was going to try to leave the country, joining the more than half-million Ukrainians so far who have fled to Poland.

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“I’m gonna try to start getting towards the border,” he said. “I have options. My options are better than most people’s, unfortunately. I am just a little nervous, to be honest with you, but I think it’s going to be all right. Well, I know it’s going to be OK.”

Chmerkovskiy also asked his followers for a favor: “Just don’t panic if I kind of disappear for a minute,” he said.

He has not been answering a lot of calls and texts, he said, speaking only to his wife, fellow dancer Peta Murgatroyd, and his parents and brother, dancer Val Chmerkovskiy.

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“Don’t worry,” Maksim Chmerkovskiy said. “I’m going to do my best to keep you updated.”

Two hours later, he posted angrily on his Instagram story, “I’m really not good right [at] this moment. I see videos of people [whose] legs were torn off minutes ago from the shelling that is going on in Kharkov RIGHT NOW. I won’t post that stuff but I see all of them and it’s extremely disturbing. INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE BEING KILLED!!!!

“Pray the meeting going on right now will make a difference and CONTINUE TO SCREAM ABOUT THIS F— GENOCIDE AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS!!!! It’s working and the entire planet is finally [getting] United about something!!!!”

Times staffers Nabih Bulos and Marcus Yam are on the ground in Ukraine covering the invasion by Russia. Here’s what they are seeing firsthand.

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