Dancing With The Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy has was pictured in Malibu on Wednesday, just hours after he arrived home in Los Angeles after a ‘traumatic’ escape from war-torn Ukraine.
The 42-year-old touched down at LAX on Wednesday afternoon where he was greeted by his relieved wife Peta Murgatroyd and members of the media.
Just a few hours later after a change of clothes, the DWTS dancer was then seen in Malibu while looking at his phone.
Back: DWTS pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy pictured in Malibu on Wednesday, hours after an emotional reunion with wife Peta Murgatroyd following ‘traumatic’ escape from Ukraine
The star was seen dressed casually and looked comfortable in a white shirt.
His wife Pete was not see with him, though the pair had been pictured reuniting at the airport.
The couple shared an emotional hug as Maks ended a harrowing journey that took him from Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, to Warsaw in Poland and then on to America.
The dancer and choreographer, who was born in Ukraine, had been in the city filming a TV show when Russia launched its invasion.
Emotional: The 42-year-old touched down at LAX on Wednesday afternoon where he was greeted by his relieved wife Peta Murgatroyd and members of the media
He reached Warsaw, the capital of Poland, on Tuesday after he was arrested in Kyiv and then took a ‘traumatizing’ train ride full of women and children heading to the Polish border.
He had shared via social media early Wednesday morning that he had managed to get a seat on a plane to Los Angeles.
Maks and fellow DWTS pro Peta, 35, married in 2017 and share son Shai, five.
Safe and sound: The star was seen dressed casually and looked comfortable in a white shirt
He’s home: Just a few hours later from LAX and after a change of clothes, the DWTS dancer was then seen in Malibu while looking at his phone
Maks and his brother Val emigrated to New York with their parents in 1994 and went on to become US citizens.
He was able to leave Ukraine thanks to his US passport as all Ukrainian men of fighting age – between 18-60 – have been prohibited from leaving the country and must remain to fight the Russian invaders.
He admitted it was a difficult choice, explaining via social media: ‘I’m having very mixed emotions.
Updating fans: He had shared via social media early Wednesday morning that he had managed to get a seat on a plane to Los Angeles
Escape: He was able to leave Ukraine thanks to his US passport as all Ukrainian men of fighting age – between 18-60 – have been prohibited from leaving the country
‘I have my friends there, my friends in [the] frontline…. I can’t hear from some of the people. I can’t get in touch with them. I don’t know if they’re dead.’
In his Instagram video from the airport in Warsaw, Maks shared: ‘Hey I’m ready to go, boarding this plane.’
He went on: ‘I also found a patch of gray hairs that just came up that was definitely not there. That’s a little bit of a joke. But not a joke…. this last night was insane.’
He went on to talk about the non-stop bombing throughout the country and casualties among civilians.
Maksim slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin and said the Russian people are ‘confused’ and ‘not sure.’
Message: After getting home Wednesday night, the dance pro posted this image of the cover of Time and the translation of the cover’s words on his Instagram account
Gave updates: Maksim had kept his friends and fans updated on his journey via social media and had shared he’d been ‘arrested’ in Kyiv, which had sparked his decision to flee the country
Ready to fly: The reality star had revealed Wednesday morning that he had managed to get a seat on a plane to bring him back to the United States
‘[Putin] doesn’t represent all the Russians,’ he said. ‘Just want that to be very clear. I don’t want there to be hate. I don’t want there to be disgust with them as a nation. They’re our brothers and sisters. My mom’s brother… his family lives in Russia.
‘My grandpa lives in Russia. On the Russia territory. They moved when they had no job, no work, no opportunity to another nearby village basically they are also scraping by.’
He added: ‘I’m mostly angry. I’m also f****ng angry and p****d…. ‘I came from that place. USSR didn’t represent me and I think [Putin] doesn’t represent the good ones. We just got to help them and open their eyes. So keep talking, keep using your voice and so will I. I’m getting on a plane. Talk to you from LA,’ closing out the video.
Dancing With The Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy timeline in Ukraine
Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who was born in Ukraine but became a US citizen in 2019, flies to Kyiv with plans to stay for a ‘few months’ film a new Ukrainian show called World of Dance.
The Dancing With The Stars pro, 42, begins filming as a judge on the panel and declares he’s ‘really happy to be back in Ukraine’.
Maksim shares a tearful clip from Kyiv saying ‘I want to go back home’ and says he is ‘about to go into a bomb shelter because s**t’s going down’. His wife Peta Murgatroyd, with whom he has a five-year-old son Shai, pleads for his safe return and asks for prayers. She admits: ‘My pain is overwhelming and I’m struggling. Please pray that he has a swift, safe exit.’
He shares another clip filmed in Kyiv and tells fans he is ‘safe’ but the situation is ‘pretty die’ and that the ‘whole country is being called to go to war. I don’t know the answer, I just want the shooting to stop.’
He calls out his former DWTS partner Kirstie Alley for tweeting she doesn’t know what’s ‘real’ and ‘fake’ about Russia invading his home country. He noted: ‘No one needs your prayer if you don’t know what’s real or fake.’
Petra admits she’s going through ‘hell’ but thanks fans for their kindness and support, revealing strangers made her cookies to offer comfort. Maks commented on her post, writing: ‘I love you and I’ll see you soon! Save me a cookie.’
Maks reveals he was arrested in Kyiv but doesn’t reveal why. He said the ‘streets are crazy’ and the arrest was ‘probably the least traumatizing moment’ but noted it was a ‘reality check.’ He reveals he plan to flee, noting ‘I’m going to try and make my way out. I’m going to start making my way towards the border. I have options. Just a little nervous but I think it’s going to be alright. I know its’ going to be okay.’ He later boards a train heading to Warsaw alongside women and children, calling the journey ‘claustrophobic.’
The dancing pro reaches Warsaw, Poland after 31 hours of no sleep on his ‘traumatizing’ train ride women and children fleeing Ukraine following the Russian invasion. The star thanks the ‘amazing Polish people.’
Maks heads back home to the United States. On Wednesday, the star revealed he’s about to board a flight to Los Angeles from Warsaw.
Emotional: Maksim, pictured on February 24, shared a tearful clip from Kyiv and said ‘I want to go back home’ and says he is ‘about to go into a bomb shelter because s**t’s going down’
Family: Maks and Peta, who married in 2017, are parents to five-year-old son Shai
His exit from Poland comes hours after he sat down in his Warsaw hotel room and decompressed following his dramatic ordeal fleeing Ukraine.
Maksim said he ‘lived through some s**t that I’m going to need a lot of therapy for’ on an Instagram Live.
Maksim has been documenting his journey fleeing his native country after the Russian invasion; The father of one finally arrived to Warsaw, Poland on Tuesday after 31 hours of no sleep.
He shared a detailed account of his trek to Warsaw, Poland, revealing he was starting his train journey on Monday after he got arrested in Kyiv.
Made it: The star, who also revealed he was arrested in Kyiv, revealed that after a long ‘claustrophobic’ and ‘traumatizing’ train ride with women and children out of the war torn country
Chmerkovskiy, who has been in Kyiv working as a judge on the Ukrainian version of World of Dance, had planned on staying in his native land when the fighting first broke out, however, after he got a ‘reality check’ by being arrested Monday, he decided to flee.
Maks called his train ride ‘claustrophobic’ and ‘traumatizing,’ filled with women and children fleeing the war torn country.
‘I made it on the train. We’re heading to Warsaw (hopefully). Train to Lviv was not an option,’ the choreographer penned. ‘The situation at the train station is insane. AT first it feels manageable, but it get A LOT worse when it comes time to actually board the train.’
‘Long story but all I can say now is that I’m a big man with nothing but a backpack it’s TRAUMATIZING,’ he continued. ‘Currently I’m in a cabin with 4 adults and 7 kids (ages 2-11) which is usually only occupied by maximum of 3 people.’
Speaking out: Maksim, 42, shared a detailed account of his trek to Warsaw, Poland, revealing he was starting his train journey on Monday after he got arrested in Kyiv. The father of one arrived to Warsaw after 31 hours of no sleep
Maksim revealed that the train car that he was traveling on was outfitted for roughly 30 riders but refugees were told they needed to fit 135 people inside.
‘Walkways are packed. People everywhere. It’s sweaty and claustrophobic,’ he said. Photos from a train station in illustrate the reality star’s situation. Thousands of people were seen bundled up in freezing temperatures standing practically on top of one another as they attempted to get a train out of the country.
What finally broke me is when I was watching an eight-ish year old boy, hysterically crying and not wanting to let go of his father,’ he wrote in a heartbreaking post on Instagram. ‘Verbatim: “if you stay I want to stay too because if they kill you I won’t be able to help”.’
His wife, Peta, shared his post on her social media feed saying she was ‘so f**king proud’ of her husband for helping out the refugee children.
Maks’ decision to finally leave Kyiv came after he was arrested while in the capital city amid the Russian military assault.
‘The streets are crazy,’ he said. ‘At one point I got arrested but again all good, promise. 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.’
‘I’m going to try and make my way out. I’m going to start making my way towards the border. I have options.’ Adding: ‘Just a little nervous but I think it’s going to be alright. I know it’s going to be okay.
Maksim posted graphic videos to his stories and grid throughout Ukraine, as the star says he’s tried and stressed out after seeing innocent people being killed.
His reality: ‘I’m at a station about 20, 30, 40, I don’t actually know where I’m at but like 30 minutes before the Polish border, they stopped to change wheels on the train, I can’t make this up and let us out… for fresh air and I went to the bathroom and now we’re going back and this is the train,’ as he showed train and the crowds
He said on Sunday: ‘I’m in a very safe place but this is nuts and I think everybody is going through a lot of emotions and i think it’s time I expose mine in a more personal manner.
‘This is a war. This is a crazy situation. It’s insane and I’m losing my final little things. This is not a cry for help. I’m a big boy. I can handle myself.. but I’m starting to not be able to just sort of keep my head.’
‘The reality is, I just want to go home. I’m just hoping for a safe ending to it all.’
His wife Peta took to Instagram on Sunday with an emotional message in which she shared that an empathetic group of strangers had made a kind gesture to her amid the absence of Maksim.
‘Although I’m going through hell right now and I want it all to end…[there] is light that shines through the darkness,’ said Murgatroyd, who is mother to five-year-old son Shai with Chmerkovskiy, who she wed in July of 2017.
Murgatroyd, an alum of Dancing With the Stars, remains at the family’s home in California amid the uncertain time. She said that strangers baked her cookies ‘and proudly brought them to [her] door.
Gratitude: He took a moment to thank the Polish people: ‘I absolutely have to say this: Polish people are amazing!!!! Thank you from the absolute bottom of my heart and soul,’ adding a prayer sign, heart and hands in the air emoji
Refugees: Chmerkovskiy, who has been in Kyiv working as a judge on the Ukrainian version of World of Dance, had planned on staying in his native land when the fighting first broke out, however, after he got a ‘reality check’ by being arrested he decided to flee
One of the lucky ones: Ukraine announced last week that men of fighting age – between 18-60 – were prohibited from leaving Ukraine but since Maks holds a U.S. passport, he is exempt from the mandate
‘They stood there with smiles so wide. Let me repeat … strangers, whom I don’t talk to thought that they should get in their kitchen and bake me cookies,’ she said. ‘They also took it upon themselves to google if I was allergic to anything, just to make sure they weren’t hurting me.’
Chmerkovskiy has also provided frequent social media updates amid the conflict, as he said Thursday he had not attempted to leave the country due to safety concerns around the border of Poland. The professional dancer said he felt his odds for departure from the Ukraine were helped in having an American passport.
Chmerkovskiy added that the conflict had taken an emotional toll on him, as he said he ‘will never be the same’ in the wake of the invasion.
‘This is stressful and I’m getting old feelings back, like I’ve done this before,’ he said Thursday. ‘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.’
Terrifying: Thousands of people were seen bundled up in freezing temperatures standing practically on top of one another as they attempted to get a train out of the country (Pictured: Evacuation train in Kyiv)
Getting out: Thousands of Ukrainian residents waiting for hours to board trains into neighboring countries as Russian forces continue to shell cities across the country (Pictured: Lviv train station)
Support: His wife, Peta Murgatroyd, shared his post on her social media feed saying she was ‘so f**king proud’ of her husband for helping out the refugee children
On Sunday, Chmerkovskiy took to Instagram Stories with a number of messages, urging people in the dance community in European countries to help take care of refugees if they were able to. He shared a number of links to resources to help people exit safely amid the ongoing military conflict.
Chmerkovskiy also wrote, ‘Russia needs a revolution!!! Russian people are being lied to!!! Russians! Wake up! It will take you generations to get over this and generations of people around the world will never forgive you!!!’
On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to put nuclear weapons on enhanced alert for ‘special regime of combat duty’ amid heightened tensions with Europe and the United States following the invasion.
Putin cited aggression toward Russia from NATO as well as economic sanctions and moves shutting down Russian banking institutions using the banking system SWIFT.
The latest: Maksim Chmerkovskiy revealed he was arrested while in Kyiv, Ukraine but called it the ‘least traumatizing moment in this whole thing as far as Ukraine is concerned