The cell phone video begins as an emergency vehicle passes Chmerkovskiy, sirens blaring, as he stands on a balcony overlooking the Maidan, the city square that has for decades been a public gathering place at the center of political activity in the country. Ukraine was, of course, invaded by Russia last night and explosions were heard in Kyiv overnight.
“This is the reality,” he says at one point as the vehicle rolls by, followed by an army truck.
“I’m in Kyiv, contrary to what I probably should’ve done a while ago,” he says, “and not that no one saw this coming, but everybody was hoping that the finality of this situation would be averted, that there wasn’t going to be these kind of aggressive measures.”
Chmerkovskiy talks about his friends who live in Kyiv and their families who, unlike him, cannot escape to the United States.
“I want to go back home [to the U.S.]. And I realize that I have the way to — I realize that I have a different passport, and my family is far away.”
Chmerkovskiy is married to fellow DWTS pro Peta Murgatroyd and the couple has a 5-year-old son.
At one point he addresses his fans in Russia directly.
“In 2022’s civilized world, this is not the way we do things,” he says to the camera. “I think the Russians need to get up and actually say something, because no one’s opinion is being heard. This is all one man’s ambition of something, and however convenient it sounds in Moscow, however comfortable you are where you are in Russia, I just don’t think this is the right thing.”
“I’m uneasy, I’m very scared … but I do know, at the very least, I have a chance. I have a passport and a way out. A lot of people here do not, and it’s f*cking nonsense.”
“I have [had] a f*cking incredible pleasure to spend, on the ground, about six months now, and I’ve fell back in love — I never fell out of love, but I know now who these people are. I know who this country is, what it represents, what it stands for.”
“And it’s completely not what is being portrayed to the Russian people in order to justify this invasion,” he continues.
“I’m gonna do my best to try and keep you informed,” says Chmerkovskiy. “I’m not a journalist — I have absolutely no reason to do this other than I just want an opinion of someone else, ’cause news is crazy and the reports have been insane. Love you all.”
He appended the following postscript to one of his Instagram messages:
P.S. I will never be the same. This is stressful and I’m getting old feelings back, like I’ve done this before. This does feel like the way it was when and why we left in the 90s. Like my old PTSD I’ve finally fixed is coming back. I literally only just forgot about those “always on the edge” feelings and actually started worrying about things like bbq grills. I’m crying as I’m typing this because all man deserves to worry about “bbq grills” and not f*cking war.
Hug your loved ones.