Ukrainian-born ballroom dance champion Maksim Chmerkovskiy—best known as one of the pros on 17 seasons of Dancing with the Stars—wants to give back. Chmerkovskiy was trapped in Ukraine where he was judging a reality dance competition at the start of the invasion, but managed to escape last week. Now that he’s back safe in Los Angeles, he says that documenting the humanitarian crisis on his Instagram account has left him shaken and determined to do something, ABC7 reports.
“I spent the last couple days with survivor’s remorse, I believe that’s what it’s called, and currently working on an opportunity to go back,” he said. “So probably next week I am going to go back to Poland to join efforts on the ground. Sort of want to justify my safe out that way.”
The dancer added, “I get into these crying moments. I can’t control it. I cried on the way from the airport. I felt embarrassed the entire ride back because I was the only man on the train amongst all women and children.”
Chmerkovskiy captivated his 1.2 million Instagram followers with tense dispatches from Kyiv, where he was judging the reality show World of Dance UA when Russian forces began to invade. When he was finally able to leave, he traveled 30 hours, mostly by train, before seeking refuge in Poland. From there, he flew to L.A., where he lives with his wife and 5-year-old son, and had an emotional airport reunion.
“I think that in 2022, following this action, we have to completely rethink the way we do things as a planet,” he told reporters at LAX when he landed. “There can never again be one person who can do something like this ever again.”
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