Maksim Chmerkovskiy, safely back in L.A., continues posting war horrors from Ukraine

A man and a woman stand with arms around each other on a New York street
Maksim Chmerkovskiy and wife Peta Murgatroyd, seen in New York City in 2020, were reunited at LAX on Wednesday after his harrowing journey out of Ukraine.
(Raymond Hall / GC Images)

Maksim Chmerkovskiy has completed his journey from war-torn Kyiv to Los Angeles and is continuing to post Instagram messages in support of Ukrainian efforts to fight off Russian invaders. His videos include shots of rockets being fired on civilian areas. “THIS! IS! GENOCIDE!,” he wrote in a recent caption.

The dancer and “Dancing With the Stars” professional is one of more than a million people to flee the country of 44.2 million in just the past week, according to the United Nations.

Chmerkovskiy was in the capital of his home country when the war broke out last week, and he asked via Instagram that the Russian people speak out against “one man’s ambition” — that of Russian President Vladimir Putin.


A few days later, after getting arrested once for unspecified reasons, Chmerkovskiy said he had decided to leave the country, saying, “My options are better than most people’s, unfortunately,” because of his multiple passports.

In Ukraine, ‘Dancing With the Stars’ regular Maksim Chmerkovskiy says ‘don’t panic if I kind of disappear for a minute’ as he heads to the Polish border.

Feb. 28, 2022

On Tuesday (Pacific Standard Time) he posted from a hotel room in Warsaw, after 36 hours awake, saying he was “overwhelmed with gratitude” for the Polish people who were helping Ukrainians

He said he boarded a train in Kyiv at the last second and 23 hours later made it to Warsaw, shaken by the things he had seen along the way, including a family of four who were “incinerated” on the street. “It is so close and it is so real and it is so traumatic and it’s so crazy,” he said. “It’s not right.”

But, Chmerkovskiy said, he felt as if he had found his birthplace and reconnected with it and was having “a hard f— time leaving it.”

“I’m having a horrible time. I’m having very mixed emotions,” he said, because his friends are in danger, are on the front line, or are dead.

From the airport, as he was boarding a plane back to the U.S., the Ukrainian American dancer said, “I can’t believe some of my Russian friends, they have lost their mine and they’re denying the situation.” But, he added, some Russian people were starting to be “not sure” about what they have been told.


Chmerkivoskiy reunited with wife and fellow dancer-choreographer Peta Murgatroyd at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, where the couple was captured by TMZ’s cameras in a long, heartfelt embrace in the Tom Bradley International Terminal. He said he was “just trying to process where I was yesterday to where I am today.”

“I’m just a little trying to process the fact that I’m here and somewhere else there’s a — not somewhere else, the place I just left — is getting bombed right now,” he told TMZ. “So, when I was in Kyiv, I was ‘safe,’ but that place is no longer safe.”

‘I’m somebody who is about to go into a bomb shelter ’cause s— is going down,’ an emotional Maksim Chmerkovskiy says from Ukraine, his native country.

Feb. 24, 2022

Chmerkovskiy said he was told to get an AK-47 and to watch YouTube videos to learn how to use it, but decided his smartphone and 1.1 million followers on Instagram were the better weapon for him.

And what he would say to Russian President Vladimir Putin? “I wouldn’t say anything,” the dancer replied. “He needs to kill himself.”