When Maksim Chmerkovskiy escaped Ukraine and returned to his wife and child in the United States, it seemed his journey was complete.
However, Maksim, who was a long-time pro on Dancing with the Stars, said that he is suffering through survivor’s guilt.
He saw too many people die in the streets and he says he is returning to Eastern Europe to join the ground forces there.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy talks survivor’s guilt
Before Maksim even made it to America to reunite with his wife Peta Murgatroyd, he left an Instagram message that showed he was already feeling survivor’s guilt.
“I felt wrong leaving. I felt wrong being on that train,” Maksim said just hours after getting out of the country. “I still feel guilty [about] being on a train. I took up space, probably.”
Maksim is not a Ukrainian citizen. He left the country when he was a child in 1994 and is an American citizen.
He was in Ukraine working on that country’s version of Dancing with the Stars as a judge. Now, he wants to help others that are still there.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy returning to help with Ukraine
He told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he plans to go to Eastern Europe, with the intention of “joining efforts on the ground.”
Maksim said in the interview that he was told to leave and that’s when he got on the train with the women and children escaping the country.
He said that he was on his way to film the show at 5 a.m. and then he started getting phone calls, telling him he was an American citizen and had to get out of the country now.
However, it was too late, and he ended up trapped there for five days. He took the time to document what was happening so his fans and the world could see it firsthand.
“I felt really bad going and the feeling sunk in worse,” Maks said, saying that he felt like he was taking a seat that should have gone to women and children.
He said he chose a small space to stay on the train so he wouldn’t be a burden while also helping others.
“Probably sometime next week, I will be going back to Poland and joining efforts on the ground,” Maks said. “I want to justify my safe out in that way.”
Maksim likely won’t be going to fight. However, in Poland, he can work to help people coming into the country and with supply efforts as the country helps Ukraine during this time of war.
Dancing with the Stars is on hiatus. The dance reality competition series will return late in 2022 to ABC.