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Maksim Chmerkovskiy Admits He's 'Embarrassed' By Escape From Ukraine In Emotional First Interview

Maksim Chmerkovskiy Ukraine Escape GMA Interview

Maksim Chmerkovskiy is still speaking up about his experiences in Ukraine.

As we previously reported, the Dancing with the Stars pro finally returned to US soil on Wednesday. He had been judging a dance competition in his native Ukraine when the Russian invasion began, stranding him in the country for several days before he was finally able to escape the conflict. During that time, he posted frequent social media updates to raise awareness and encourage followers to speak up on behalf of the Ukrainian people.

Related: Hayden Panettiere Assures Fans Her Daughter Is ‘Safe’ Amid Ukraine Invasion

Now that he’s back in the States, Maks has taken his experience to an even bigger platform. On Friday, he had his first interview with Good Morning America and shared more reflections on his journey.

He told the outlet:

“It’s surreal to be honest. This is a country and the country’s on fire, so it was very difficult to process for me because we used to fly out, do some stuff, experience some things and always fly back. And here I am, like, I’m unable to fly home. And that to me was the biggest sort of moment of understanding, like ‘You’re in trouble.'”

With the same remarkable honesty that characterized his social media posts, the 42-year-old admitted:

“I’m still very much in a fight or flight. I’m a big boy. I know for a fact that I’m going through something mentally. I get into these crying moments. I can’t control it. I cried on the way from the airport. I felt embarrassed, you know, I felt embarrassed the entire ride back because I was the only man on the train amongst all women and children.”

Speaking on that 23-hour train journey from Kyiv to Warsaw, Poland, he elaborated:

“It was horrible. I realized after we took off. I realized all the people that didn’t get in have to now sleep right there in that train station. It’s not heated. It’s just a giant building, it’s cold. There’s kids everywhere. I’m dying inside because this is still a very emotional stuff for me. There’s kids everywhere. Babies everywhere. It’s negative temperature. … Yeah, I feel guilty. I feel bad. I feel shamed. I feel upset.”

The dancer also revealed more details about being arrested in Kyiv, which he had previously alluded to in another Instagram post. He explained:

“They’re like ‘Passport.’ I pull out my American passport. He starts speaking English with me. I was like, I speak Russian, then I regretted saying that. I thought maybe that was wrong. Then the guy next to him goes ‘Oh, that’s the judge from Dancing with the Stars. That’s Maks. I know him. He’s from TV.’ He goes, ‘Get inside right now.'”

Maks agreed that being a “recognizable” figure probably “saved” him, but hastened to add:

“It’s not like I was going to get shot. I was going to probably get put somewhere until they figure out who I am and check my identity. I would have been fine. But I felt like things got real, and all the sudden I don’t actually have all of the things needed to feel safe in this place at all. I’m not built for this at all. I’m just realizing I’m not at the place where I should be.”

Related: Russian Athletes Protest Putin’s Invasion Of Ukraine — Why That’s So Important!

As for why he felt the need to document his journey, the father of one mused:

“At the time of war I realize you do what you can. This was not me trying to publicize the situation. This was me trying to cry for help. I literally was screaming out, ‘Look, this is what I saw. I just want you to see it wherever you are.'”

Well, he definitely accomplished that goal — his posts and videos have reached so many people around the world. Now that he’s back in the US, we’re sure Maks will find new ways to aid his fellow Ukrainians and amplify their stories.

(Hopefully it will be enough as there are still TONS of folks online who think the entire invasion is fake. Sigh.)

Watch Maksim’s full GMA interview (below):

[Image via Good Morning America/YouTube]

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Mar 04, 2022 12:27pm PDT