Ukraine-born former Dancing With the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy was arrested and released in his home country during the ongoing Russian invasion, and is now making plans to leave Kyiv.
In a five-minute video posted today on his Instagram page, Chmerkovskiy updated his followers on his plans to leave Kyiv, where he’s been filming a project called World of Dance UA, and cross the border, likely into Poland. “There’s a lot of fighting everywhere,” Chmerkovskiy says in the cellphone video. “Streets are crazy. At one point I got arrested…but all good, promise.”
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Chmerkovskiy describes his arrest briefly: “That was probably the least traumatizing moment in this whole thing as far as Ukraine is concerned, but for me it was just a reality check….a crazy reality check.” He did not provide additional details about the arrest.
“I’m going to try to make my way out, start trying to get close to the border,” he says. Chmerkovskiy is married to fellow DWTS pro Peta Murgatroyd and the couple has a 5-year-old son. They live in Los Angeles.
“I’m just trying to stay focused,” Chmerkovskiy says, adding, “I have options. My options are better than most people’s, unfortunately. I’m 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 okay.”
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Chmerkovskiy also asks his fans to not “panic” if he doesn’t resurface on social media immediately. “If I disappear for a little bit please don’t worry.” The dancing pro explains that he’s in touch with his family – wife, brother, parents – but is not responding directly to friends, distant relatives and fans at the moment.
Finally, Chmerkovskiy speaks out against reported “unfair treatment” at the Ukraine-Poland border. Though he doesn’t offer details, Chmerkovskiy apparently is referring to claims by African nationals of unfair treatment and racism as they attempt to flee Ukraine. Chmerkovskiy says he has no direct proof of the reported racism, but “where there’s smoke there’s fire.”
“Any unfair treatment is wrong,” he says.
Watch his entire video below.
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