Russia invaded Ukraine while Maksim Chmerkovskiy was working as a judge on that country’s Dancing With the Stars show.
Maksim said he could have left before the invasion, but he was told by trusted sources that the invasion was unlikely.
Once it started, he was stuck there for days, informed that the road to Poland was dangerous. So, he stayed in bomb shelters and remained hidden for his own protection.
However, when the chance arose, he was told to leave the country, and he took a train to Poland and a plane back to the United States.
There are some people who showed disappointment he did not remain in Ukraine to fight in the war.
Maksim’s friends and family defend him leaving Ukraine
Concerning leaving Ukraine, Maksim was told he had to leave the country when he did.
However, when he learned the train he left on was full of nothing but women and children, he felt bad and now he has survivor’s guilt for leaving.
Despite that, the reason he was told to leave is that Maksim is an American citizen.
He was born in Ukraine, but moved to America as a child and is an American citizen and not a Ukrainian citizen.
As for people who slammed Maksim for not remaining there to fight in a war, several people have stepped up in his defense.
Daily Mail spoke to friends of Maksim, and they said the same thing.
“Maks is not a Ukrainian citizen, he’s an American citizen. It was not an option for him to just ‘stay and fight,’” they said. “The narrative of evading any duty to Ukraine is simply not accurate.”
Maksim even said that military personnel told him he would be among the first to be evacuated and he had no choice in leaving because he is an American citizen.
Ukraine does not believe in dual citizenship. The country views Maksim as an American despite being born there.
Maksim planning to return to help
While Maksim can’t return to Ukraine, he said he is going to head back to Eastern Europe to help in the efforts.
Feeling survivor’s guilt after watching too many deaths, Maksim said he wants to help out on the ground, likely helping with people escaping Ukraine and helping in the relief efforts there.
“Probably sometime next week, I will be going back to Poland and joining efforts on the ground,” Maksim said. “I want to justify my safe out in that way.”
Dancing with the Stars is on hiatus. The dancing reality competition series will return to ABC in late 2022.