The former ‘Dancing With the Stars’ professional Maksim Chmerkovskiy was in Kyiv filming ‘World of Dance’ when Russian president Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine but he managed to board a train and arrived in Poland on Tuesday following a gruelling 23-hour journey.
The 42-year-old star said he is “confused” and “terrified” as he called for people to rally together against Putin, reports femalefirst.co.uk.
In a lengthy video shared to Instagram, he said: “I’m scared, I’m confused, I’m terrified and I just lived through some s*** that I’m going to need a lot of therapy for.
“But I know this – it’s us little guys against the big guy. I don’t care how big (Russian President Vladimir Putin) is. I don’t care how mean he is. When we’re together, I can see what can happen.”
“We can have a little guy finally win and it will be a joint effort and after that, we can figure out how to make sure that there’s never again one f****** person, one man, who can do whatever he’s doing.”
Currently, a mobilisation order reportedly stops men aged 18-60 from leaving Ukraine so it is unclear how Maksim was allowed to do so.
The dancer admitted the experience of getting to Poland was “like out of a movie”.
He said: “When the train car got packed and packed and it kept getting more and more packed, I was like, hold on. I’m thinking to myself there’s no air. There’s no way that we can travel (this way).”
Chmerkovskiy, who stood at the back of the train so others more in need could have a seat, admitted he feels “guilty” for having escaped the war-stricken region.
He said: “I thought about it, my guilt. I started to think about this and I came up with this analogy.
“In ’94, I was put up for adoption and I got adopted by a beautiful, young, vibrant, exciting, forward-thinking country and I fell in love and I left Ukraine in ’94 (as) a sad, sad person because I felt like I was getting unrooted. … I was in this new country.
“But I turned around and said, ‘You know what? This is what I’m going to do.’ The 14-year-old Maks, with his family and all the love and support that he had, did stuff and here we are.”
Chmerkovskiy, who has five-year-old son Shai with wife Pete Murgatroyd, had “reconnected” with his native country after years of living in the US and had a “very f****** hard time” leaving this week.
He said: “I’m having a horrible time. I’m having very mixed emotions. I have my friends there, my friends in [the] frontline. … I can’t hear from some of the people. I can’t get in touch with them. I don’t know if they’re dead.”