Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s Tearful Ride Home from Airport After Escaping Ukraine
Maksim Chmerkovskiy is now safe in Los Angeles, but he’s still traumatized by what he experienced in Ukraine.
In a new interview with “Good Morning America” airing Friday, Maksim shared, “I’m still in a very much fight-or-flight. I’m a big boy, but I know for a fact that I’m going through something mentally because I get into these cry moments, emotional, I can’t control it.”
On Wednesday, Maksim reunited with his wife Peta Murgatroyd, who greeted him with an embrace after he touched down at LAX.
The ride home was full of emotion. He revealed, “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 opened up about feeling “guilty” for fleeing Ukraine, while others are stuck there as Russia continues to invade. He said, “I feel guilty. I feel guilty. I feel bad. I feel shamed. I feel upset.”
Maksim also discussed his arrest in Kyiv before breaking curfew. He was recognized by one of the officers, who knew him from “Dancing with the Stars,” which made his arrest brief.
He noted, “[Being recognized] absolutely saved me, but it’s not like I was going to get shot. I was going to get probably put somewhere where I can sit until they figure out who I am and check my identity.
“It would’ve been fine, but I felt like things got real,” he stressed. “All of a sudden I don’t have all of the things needed to feel safe in this place at all. I’m not built for this at all.”
Following his arrest, Maksim took a 23-hour train ride to Warsaw. Of the “horrible” scene at the train station, he revealed, “After we took off, I realized that all the people that didn't get in have to now sleep right there in that train station. It's not heated. It's just a giant building. It's cold," he said. "I'm dying inside because this is still, you know, very emotional stuff for me. There's kids everywhere, babies everywhere. It's negative temperature."
Maksim used his social media to document his time in Kyiv as war broke out. He told T.J. Holmes, “At the time of war, I realized you do what you can, right? This was not me trying to publicize the situation. This was me trying to cry for help. I was just screaming out like, 'Look, this is what I just saw. I just want you to see it, whoever you are.'"
Maksim was in the country to film the Ukrainian version of “World of Dance.”
While the whole war is “difficult to process,” Chmerkovskiy added, “It's a bit surreal, to be honest. This is a country, you know? And the country is on fire.”
Hundreds of people have already been reported dead or wounded, including children. According to the United Nations, millions have also fled Europe’s first major land conflict in decades in what has been called the fastest exodus, globally, in a century.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who ordered the attacks, argues that Ukraine has ties to Russia and he is just acting in his country’s best interest. However, countries around the world have strongely condemned his actions, and have increased severe economic sanctions against Russia. Many countries have also pledged military support as well as aid.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is staying put and facing this head-on. He said in a widely viewed speech, “Nobody is going to break us. We’re strong. We’re Ukrainians. Life will win over death. And light will win over darkness.”