Former “Dancing With The Stars” pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy spoke out on Thursday about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as he prepared to take refuge in a Kyiv bomb shelter.
“I trust my sources and no one saw this coming,” he told viewers, then clarified: “Not that no one saw this coming, but everyone was hoping that the finality of the situation would be averted, that there’s not going to be this kind of aggressive measures.”
“There’s ALWAYS another way! WAR is NEVER an answer!” he added in the caption. “P.S. I will never be the same.”
Chmerkovskiy, who grew up in Ukraine while it was still part of the Soviet Union, said that Russia’s attack was dredging up childhood traumas.
“This is stressful and I’m getting old feelings back, like I’ve done this before,” he wrote. “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.”
He continued, “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—ing war. Hug your loved ones.”
In another clip, Chmerkovskiy filmed families wheeling luggage and carrying belongings as they fled to safety. His wife and fellow “DWTS” pro Peta Murgatroyd and their 5-year-old son, Shai, appear to be in the United States. “I want to go back home,” he said in another video, tearing up. “I realize that I have the way to, I realize that I have a different passport and my family is far away.”
However, he acknowledged that native Ukrainians do not have that option. “My friends, whose kids are here, whose moms, dads and elderly people are here, they can’t just escape,” he explained.
Addressing any Russians who might be watching his videos, Chmerkovskiy emphasized that he was speaking not as “someone who is pleading for someone else’s safety from a far distance, from a safe distance,” but as “somebody who’s about to go into a bomb shelter because s–t’s going down.”
He pleaded for Russians to “get up and actually say something because no one’s opinion is being heard.”
Spending months in Ukraine filming “World of Dance” reaffirmed Chmerkovskiy’s love of his home country, he added. “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.”
Before signing off, he asked supporters to respect his family’s privacy and promised to “do my best to keep you informed.”
Watch the full video below.