UPDATE: Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s 48-hour, 6,000-plus mile journey from war-torn Kyiv to Los Angeles ended today when he was greeted at LAX by wife and fellow Dancing With the Stars pro Peta Murgatroyd.
A crush of photographers was on hand as he and Murgatroyd found each other in the baggage area and shared a long embrace that neither seemed to want to end.
It was an emotional reunion for Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd as he arrived home safely from Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/Pxwa6tzfFh
— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) March 3, 2022
Outside, Chmerkovskiy addressed the gathered media, according to Entertainment Tonight.
“The reason why Ukraine is standing right now is because of the Ukrainian people…and the fact that the entire world is helping.”
He continued, “I think that in 2022, following this action, we have to completely rethink the way we do things as a planet. There can never again be one person who can do something like this ever again.”
The Ukraine-born Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd have a 5-year-old son. They live in Los Angeles.
PREVIOUSLY at 10:25 a.m.: Maksim Chmerkovskiy left Warsaw this morning and boarded a flight to Los Angeles.
“Getting in a plane,” he said in an Instagram video from the airport in Poland this morning. “Talk to you from L.A.” He later posted an Instagram photo illustration of the Statue of Liberty holding a Ukrainian flag.
PREVIOUS, March 1: Ukraine-born former Dancing With the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy has made it safely from Ukraine to Poland, posting an Instagram Story video and messages from his train trip to the border.
“31 hours no sleep,” Chmerkovskiy wrote at one point, adding “1.5 hours to arrival.” He later posted, “I’m in Poland.”
“I made it on the train,” Chmerkovskiy wrote. “We’re heading to Warsaw (hopefully). Train to Lviv was not an option. The situation at the train station is insane. At first it feels manageable, but it gets A LOT worse when it comes time to actually board the train. Long story but all I can say now is that I’m a big man with nothing but a backpack it’s TRAUMATIZING. Currently I’m in a cabin with 4 adults and 7 kids (ages 2-11_ which usually is only occupied by a maximum of 3 people. There’s usually up to 30 people in this particular wagon. We were told we have to fit 135. Walkways are packed. People everywhere. It’s sweaty and claustrophobic.
“What finally broke me,” he continued, “is when I was watching an eight-ish year old boy, hysterically crying and not wanting to let go of his father. Verbatim: ‘if you stay I want to stay too because if they kill you I won’t be able to help.”
Yesterday, the dance pro spoke on Instagram of his arrest and release during the Russian invasion (he did not provide details of the arrest). In yesterday’s message, he said he had decided to leave Kyiv, where he had been filming a project called World of Dance UA.
In the more recent Instagram Story video, Chmerkovskiy, speaking directly into his cellphone camera, said that the train cars were “packed” except for the car reserved for sick people – “the only car not packed.” He also noted that when his train was 30 minutes outside Poland, it stopped so that the wheels could be changed. “You can’t make this stuff up,” he said.
Chmerkovskiy also posted messages noting that Russians were “firing at residential buildings” and “Russian state propaganda machine will say my last post is fake. Fundamentally flawed way of governing humans by using propaganda [lies] and fear. Been there, done that…Emigrated.”
In a final note, Chmerkovskiy wrote, “I absolutely have to say this: POLISH PEOPLE ARE AMAZING!!!!! THANK YOU FROM THE ABSOLUTE BOTTOM OF MY HEART AND SOUL”
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