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‘Dancing with the Stars’ pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy makes it to Poland after fleeing Ukraine amid Russian invasion

Maks Chmerkovskiy visits Build to discuss the dance tour "Maks, Val & Peta Live On Tour: Confidential" at Build Studio on March 10, 2020, in New York. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images/TNS)

“Dancing with the Stars” professional Maksim Chmerkovskiy made it into Poland on Tuesday after fleeing his native Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion.

In an update on Instagram, Chmerkovskiy wrote that he’d gone 31 hours without sleeping, and was still an hour and a half away from the destination after leaving Ukraine on Monday aboard a train.

“I absolutely have to say this: POLISH PEOPLE ARE AMAZING!!!!!!!” Chmerkovskiy wrote in a post to his Instagram story. “THANK YOU FROM THE ABSOLUTE BOTTOM OF MY HEART AND SOUL.”

Chmerkovskiy has repeatedly chronicled his experiences on Instagram since the invasion began last week. On Monday, he described a “traumatizing” scene at a Ukraine train station as many tried to flee, and called the train “sweaty and claustrophobic.”

“There’s usually up to 30 people in this particular wagon,” Chmerkovskiy wrote Monday. “We were told we have to fit 135. Walkways are packed.”

In an earlier update Tuesday, Chmerkovskiy said his train had to stop shortly before reaching the border of Poland.

“They stopped to change wheels on the train,” Chmerkovskiy said. “Can’t make this up. And they let us out. We had some fresh air and I went to the bathroom, and now we’re going back.”

Before he left Ukraine, Chmerkovskiy shared a video from Kyiv on Monday, saying the “streets are crazy” and that there was “a lot of fighting everywhere.”

“I got arrested like a foot outside of here, but again, all good. Promise,” the professional dancer said, adding the arrest 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, who moved to Brooklyn, New York, as a teenager, appeared on 17 seasons of “Dancing with the Stars.” He won the show’s 18th season with ice dancer Meryl Davis in 2014.

His brother, Val Chmerkovskiy, and wife, Peta Murgatroyd, are also “Dancing with the Stars” veterans.


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