Maksim Chmerkovskiy has returned to Poland to aid Ukrainian refugees amid the country’s ongoing war with Russia, which he says is “getting worse.”
The Ukraine-born Dancing With the Stars alum, who was in Kyiv filming World of Dance UA when Russia invaded on February 24, chronicled his escape from the country on social media, quickly becoming a voice for people around the globe trying to understand the calamity.
Chmerkovskiy said he felt “survivor’s remorse” after fleeing the country but he took to Instagram from Poland Sunday night to provide updates on his latest humanitarian efforts
“I’m fine. I’m good. I spent some time at home,” the 42-year-old dancer says in 14-minute video. “I enjoyed some of that Los Angeles weather, saw my family, saw my friends, you know, obviously, spent some time, and we’ve been working on tangible opportunities to help.”
Chmerkovskiy shared that he and his family, including his brother and father, have started a charitable organization called Baranova 27, named after the address where they were born in Odesa, Ukraine. Baranova 27 has already raised more than $140,000 via a GoFundMe campaign for their humanitarian “efforts to help Ukraine,” it noted. The organization provides regular updates on their Instagram page.
Chmerkovskiy also said that he is working with other volunteers in Poland and neighboring countries to seek innovative ways to provide housing for those fleeing the besieged nation.
“These towns are running out of space,” he said. “This is an actual problem. A few towns already announced they cannot accept any more refugees. Currently where I’m at, in Warsaw, the middle of downtown, everywhere you go is Ukrainian. Everybody’s a refugee. I witnessed it today with my own eyes.”
Chmerkovskiy emphasized that the crisis “did not end or slow down,” but “got worse in Ukraine.”
“I want everybody to understand what that means because everything that happened, happened fast, and it was traumatic and it was worldwide and everything,” he said. “But right now, it is getting worse. Humanitarian crisis is getting worse. People are getting hurt worse, there are more people hurt and there are more people affected.”
He concluded the video by encouraging his viewers to maintain interest in the ongoing crisis.
“I would really, really like for you guys to give yourself a day off” he said. “Tune out, go to church, spend time with your family. Do your thing. But please, come back to us and come back to realization that a lot of people still need our help, and we should continue providing this support, because we now showed Ukraine as a world, that we can all do it together.”
Chmerkovskiy says he plans to launch more fundraisers in the coming days to continue supporting Ukrainian refugees.
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