Dancing With The Stars alum Maksim Chmerkovskiy, 42, who has kept his followers updated on the Russia-Ukraine crisis while trapped in Kyiv, has fled from Ukraine to Poland.
The dancer fled the country amidst the war shortly after being arrested in Kyiv. According to Chmerkovskiy, his arrest served as a "reality check," which obligated him to take a step forward and escape from Ukraine for the sake of his life.
All about Maksim Chmerkovskiy's citizenship status
Maksim Chmerkovskiy, born to a Jewish father and a Christian mother in Odesa, Ukraine, moved to Brooklyn, New York, with his family at the age of 14 in 1994. According to Page Six, he has had dual citizenship in Ukraine and America since 2019.
The ballroom pro, who lives with his wife and five-year-old son Shai in Los Angeles, was in Kyiv, Ukraine, working on the reality competition series World of Dance Ukraine when the ongoing crisis started to take shape.
His fleeing from the country comes days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared on Thursday that it is forbidden for male citizens whose age ranges from 18 to 60 to leave the country.
His wife, Murgatroyd, was also sworn in as an official United States citizen in 2019. In a post she shared to her Instagram account back then, Murgatroyd referred to her husband as "Ukrainian/American" alongside a series of photos from the citizenship ceremony.
Chmerkovskiy kept fans updated throughout his journey
The dancer and choreographer kept updating his Instagram stories from time to time as he traveled from Kyiv, Ukraine, to Warsaw, Poland. Chmerkovskiy, who boarded a train that was "hopefully" heading to Warsaw, stated on his Instagram story:
"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."
Maksim Chmerkovskiy noted that his cabin, carrying a total of 12 people, including himself, is intended to have a maximum of three. He wrote:
"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."
The news comes after the dancer posted an update on his Instagram feed last Monday. In the nearly five-minute-long video he posted, Chmerkovskiy mentioned that he was, at one point, arrested in Ukraine amidst the crisis, saying:
"The streets are crazy. At one point I got arrested, but again, all good, promise. 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."
Maksim Chmerkovskiy also said that he was planning to leave Ukraine and that his options were "unfortunately" better than that of most people.
"I’m going to try and make my way out. I’m going to start making my way towards the border. I have options. My options are better than most people’s, unfortunately. Just a little nervous but I think it’s going to be alright. I know it’s going to be okay."
He concluded the video by asking his viewers not to panic if he "disappears" from social media for a while. However, he keeps in touch with his parents, brother, and wife, Peta Murgatroyd.
Hours earlier, Maksim Chmerkovskiy posted a story saying he had successfully reached Poland.
A few days ago, Murgatroyd, 35, asked her followers on social media to pray for her husband's safe return. Murgatroyd, who was "struggling" with "overwhelming pain," affirmed that Chmerkovskiy was safe and that she was hopeful about his safe exit from the country.
She also asked her fans to "pray for Ukraine and the innocent civilians" whose lives have been "greatly uprooted" because of the "unfathomable situation."