DWTS participant on apology tour after branded ‘a coward’ for fleeing Ukraine with women and children

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(Video Credit: CNN)

Dancing With the Stars personality Maksim Chmerkovskiy fled Ukraine on a train packed with women and children and is now vowing to return to the war-torn country after going on a media blitz talking about his “survivor’s guilt” and being called a coward.

Chmerkovskiy, 42, was in Ukraine working when the Russians invaded. He was born in Ukraine but is an American citizen with dual citizenship.

Currently, he is fundraising to help Ukrainian refugees. Chmerkovskiy says he wants to go to Poland to help with relief efforts according to Fox News but it is not clear if he has changed his mind and wants to fight alongside his countrymen.

On Sunday evening, he bared his soul to CNN host Anderson Cooper where he claimed he was given “no choice” but to leave Ukraine by “multiple sources including military personnel.” Since Ukraine has actively called for all men from the country to return and fight, that assertion is dubious, to say the least.

He also went on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on March 4th to tell his tale, The segment was aired on Monday. Some of the footage was taken in his Malibu home with his wife Peta Murgatroyd.

(Video Credit: Good Morning America)

Many have blasted the 6 ft. 2 in. dancer for fleeing the country instead of staying and fighting. Others, who are sympathetic to Chmerkovskiy’s plight are telling him to stop with the media appearances, social media posts, and to lay low.

He told Cooper on CNN that he felt “really bad” about taking up too much space on the train so he tried standing between cars until it got too cold to do so. He shared his experience fleeing and commented on the readiness of the Ukrainians for the invasion.

“I just got told that I had to go. I have to say about Ukrainian people in general, they were ready for this conflict. That was the whole general feeling. All the time I was being told if something happens, ‘we’ll take you out, you’ll be the first,'” he claimed.

“When everything happened, it happened suddenly. The day it happened, somebody was bombarding my phone saying ‘you have to go now.’ I started to get various calls from multiple sources, military personnel saying ‘you have to go, things are about to get crazy,'” he recounted not indicating who specifically told him what or who helped him get out.

Maksim reiterated that he felt “really bad going” and it became “even worse” when he arrived at the train station in Kyiv and realized he was the only guy on the train.

“I realized it’s all women and children and I’m too big and I’m taking up space. I put myself in between trains. Internally, I justified my space because I was outside,” he recounted.

“I helped a lot with bags and stuff, just to understand that I am not taking up space,” Chmerkovskiy stated.

“I spent the last couple days with survivors’ remorse. I’m working on an opportunity to go back to Poland. I want to justify my safe out that way,” he said.

“I am 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 know I get into these crying moments, I’m emotional. I can’t control it, I cried all the way from the airport,” he commented.

“I never thought our family would be directly affected by this in our lifetime, I never thought what we are seeing on our TV’s was a reality in 2022. I have never hugged him so tight. Shaking and forever grateful. Now it’s time to heal. We cannot go back to our normal. Our lives are forever changed. We have a new normal, and that’s OK,” the dancer’s wife said.


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