Dancing with the Stars’ Dancer Arrested in Ukraine
Former “Dancing with the Stars” pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy says he was arrested in Ukraine and is now trying to get out of the country.
Chmerkovskiy shared a video on Instagram giving an update from his home country of Ukraine as the Russian invasion intensifies. The last story he shared indicated that he’s made it onto a train that is “hopefully” heading to Warsaw, Poland.
“Just a lot of fighting everywhere,” he said. “The streets are crazy. At one point I got arrested.”
It’s not clear what led to his arrest, but he described the moment as a “reality check” and said it’s “all good” now.
“That was probably the least traumatizing moment in this whole thing as far as Ukraine is concerned, but for me, it was just a reality check,” Chmerkovskiy told his followers.
Then, he announced he is going to try to “make my way out” of Ukraine.
“I’m going to try to start getting close to the border. I have options, my options are better than most people’s, unfortunately,” he said.
“I am a little nervous, to be honest with you,” Chmerkovskiy confessed, “but I think it’s going to be alright. I know it’s going to be okay.”
Chmerkovskiy urged his followers not to worry if he doesn’t post updates as frequently while he is trying to make it to safety.
“Don’t panic if I kind of disappear for a minute because I know a lot of people are watching now,” he said. “If I disappear for a little bit just don’t worry and I am going to do my best to keep you updated.”
A few hours later, Chmerkovskiy shared an Instagram story update saying he had “made it on the train.”
“We’re heading to Warsaw (hopefully),” he wrote, letting followers know he was possibly going to Poland.
The dancer added that it felt “traumatizing” to get through the boarding process on the train, and that he was with 11 other adults and children in a cabin designed for three people.
Chmerkovskiy was born in Ukraine in 1980 and immigrated to the US with his family in the mid-90s, according to People magazine. He and his brother, Valentin, continued their professional dance careers in the US and eventually became contestants on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” As reported by Us Weekly, Chmerkovskiy had temporarily returned to his home country of Ukraine to serve as a judge on their version of the same TV series.
Last week, the dancer began sharing Instagram video updates to his followers from downtown Kyiv. He had 779,000 followers when he first started uploading videos from downtown Kyiv. Now Chmerkovskiy’s follower count has grown to 1.1 million as he posts firsthand accounts of what’s happening in Ukraine.
His brother, Valentin, and wife Peta Murgatroyd have been vocal on their own Instagram accounts, asking for fans and followers to “pray” for Chmerkovskiy’s safe return home to the US.
As of last Friday he wasn’t planning on trying to leave the city, saying he had heard from local friends that it wasn’t safe to travel towards the border.
“People are being mobilized. The whole country’s been called to go to war,” he said. “Men, women, boys, these people that I was judging some days ago in dance competitions, are going forward and getting guns and getting deployed to defend the country.”
Last week, Russian president Vladimir Putin authorized a full-scale attack on Ukraine. In the hours that followed, explosions pounded cities around Ukraine, many hundreds of miles from the previous conflict zone. Ukrainian officials reported fighting on its borders with Russia and dozens of casualties.