Dancing With The Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy told his followers he was ‘safe’ on Saturday as he took shelter amid a Russian attack on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
The 42-year-old Ukrainian-born dancer looked tense as he paced around a parking garage that was serving as a bomb shelter for civilians fleeing from the attack.
Chmerkovskiy also gave a sense of the destruction by sharing videos of explosions illuminating the city at night, along with footage that appeared to show an oil depot engulfed in flames.
‘Safe’ for now: DWTS pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy, 42, updated his followers on Saturday as he hunkered down in an underground parking lot in Kyiv, which doubled as a bomb shelter, amid the Russian attack on Ukraine
Chmerkovskiy, initially said he was in a bomb shelter as he walked through the structure, before revealing that it was just a parking garage.
‘A lot of people here that I don’t want to show,’ he said, presumably to prevent them from being identified.
‘I have no idea what I’m doing and I just don’t want to do something that I shouldn’t,’ he explained.
The TV star reiterated that he was ‘safe,’ but he added that ‘Kyiv is under a serious attack from what I understand, from what I heard.’
Dire straits: The TV star reiterated that he was ‘safe,’ but he added that ‘Kyiv is under a serious attack from what I understand, from what I heard’
Dramatic: He followed up his video with photos and videos of Kyiv that showed the sky illuminated by fires and explosions in the distance
‘We had a serious alarm, so we all ran downstairs,’ he added, though the danger seemed to have abated at the moment.
He added that he would share more information as soon as he had something ‘concrete’ and urged his followers to ‘pray for Ukraine.’
He followed up his video with photos and videos of Kyiv that showed the sky illuminated by fires and explosions in the distance, though he didn’t specify if he shot the footage himself.
Other footage included video that appeared to show an oil depot in Vasylkiv, about 20 miles south of Kyiv.
An intense fire and massive plumes of thick, black smoke could be seen rising from the oil depot in videos he posted to his Instagram Stories, which he attributed to an oil pipeline fire.
Outside the city: Other footage included video that appeared to show an oil depot in Vasylkiv, about 20 miles south of Kyiv
Set ablaze: An intense fire and massive plumes of thick, black smoke could be seen rising from the oil depot in videos he posted to his Instagram Stories
Oil fire: He attributed the blaze to an oil pipeline fire
A more hopeful photo showed protestors in Los Angeles with signs and Ukrainian flags as they spoke out against Russia’s attack on the country.
‘My friends in Los Angeles are making the right kind of noise!’ he wrote.
Chmerkovskiy also urged his followers to ‘Please continue to fund humanitarian services because innocent people need your help!’
Speaking out: A more hopeful photo showed protestors in Los Angeles with signs and Ukrainian flags as they spoke out against Russia’s attack on the country
Helping out: Chmerkovskiy also urged his followers to ‘Please continue to fund humanitarian services because innocent people need your help!’
Earlier on Saturday, Chmerkovksiy stepped outside to let his followers that he had made it through a night of bombings safely.
‘So the night went fine, but there was a lot of shooting around Kyiv and some neighborhoods around,’ he explained.
‘There was a lot of attempts to get into the city. There was some air raids.’
He noted a building that had been struck in an air strike and added that he knew the building well and passed by it often.
‘This is real. This is really happening,’ he said emphatically, before reiterating that he wasn’t a reporter.
Still there: Earlier on Saturday, Chmerkovksiy stepped outside to let his followers that he had made it through a night of bombings safely
Fighting on: Chermkovskiy claimed that Ukrainians were making strides against the Russians, calling it a ‘pretty heroic story,’ though he stressed that he wasn’t a military expert
Later, he headed inside to continue his video update, which he said was to combat ‘misinformation’ coming out of Russia.
He mentioned friends of his who had been able to cross the border to escape Ukraine, ‘but the problem is that, at the border, men are not allowed to leave,’ so families were split up at the border and the adult men weren’t allowed to cross by Ukrainian forces.
Chermkovskiy claimed that Ukrainians were making strides against the Russians, calling it a ‘pretty heroic story,’ though he stressed that he wasn’t a military expert.
He returned in the same location to add that many of the civilians stuck in Kyiv or other cities didn’t choose to be in the middle of the fighting, so he hoped there would be an opportunity to ‘pause’ the fighting to get civilians to safety.
The dancer urged his friends and family and concerned Americans to continue their protests and posts about the Russian attack on Ukraine to raise its profile and outweigh any Russian propaganda.
Cherkovskiy added that he understood Americans who said it wasn’t their concern that Ukraine was under attack, but he warned that disinterest might make them less safe in the long run.
Civilians in danger: The TV star posted photos of a residential tower that had been hit by a missile that had a gaping wound on its side exposing bombed out rooms
Emergency response: Emergency crews were seen evacuating the building, but no fatalities have yet been reported from the missile strike
Terrifying: Another post featured a video of a man on the phone describing a projectile attack, which he said his family had barely survived
In their thoughts: Chmerkovskiy’s wife Peta Murgatroyd shared on Instagram that her mother made her ‘first and only post on Instagram’ to share candles that she lit for him
‘It’s somebody else’s fight. You are correct. It is not your fight,’ he said. ‘Until it is. I just don’t want to be dramatic, but I don’t feel safe in my distant Malibu if Ukraine falls under this situation.’
He noted that civilians in Kyiv were under a curfew from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., and anyone seen outside during that time would be considered a ‘saboteur.’
The TV star posted photos of a residential tower that had been hit by a missile that had a gaping wound on its side exposing bombed out rooms.
Emergency crews were seen evacuating the building, but no fatalities have yet been reported from the missile strike.
Another post featured a video of a man on the phone describing a projectile attack, which he said his family had barely survived.
‘Direct hit into our living room. We survived,’ read the on-screen translation. ‘Wife and oldest son have their legs broken. Youngest son was taken away by medical personnel. I’m searching for him now.’
Update: Maksim Chmerkovskiy says he is ‘safe’ in Ukraine but warns ‘the situation is pretty dire’ as he remains in Kyiv following Russian invasion
On Friday, Chmerkovskiy shared terrifying footage of explosions in Ukraine while sheltering in the conflict-hit country.
He said the people Ukraine are ‘being called to go to war’ and was not planning to leave the capital Kyiv following Russia‘s invasion.
The professional dancer told concerned fans that he was on his way to a bomb shelter, and later shared a video of explosions ravaging parts of the country.
Despite the disturbing video, he had said he was ‘safe’ but gave a warning of the increasingly ‘aggressive’ and ‘dire’ situation in the country.
He also clarified in the second video that he is ‘not currently trying to leave’ Ukraine, explaining: ‘I’m not moving towards the border… it’s, I heard, not safe.’
His comments come as it was reported Friday that men of ‘fighting age’ were told to remain in the country as Russian missiles pounded Kyiv, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Ukrainians — mainly women and children — are reported to have crossed into Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.
Chmerkovski — who later shared footage of explosions in the capital — began his video saying: ‘I’m out here, again, I’m safe. We haven’t been told to move, and I’m just following instructions. That’s all I can say.’
Distressing: Maksim also shared footage of explosions happening in Ukraine near to where he was sheltering
‘Eerie calm’: The pro dancer had said there was an uneasy silence before explosions were heard
Scenes from the conflict: Maksim later shared this video in which people can be heard singing patriotic songs in Ukraine
‘But the reality is that I’m also talking to my friends that are here, the Ukrainians, and the situation is pretty dire.’
Chmerkovski added that people in the country ‘are being mobilized’ saying: ‘The whole country is being called to go to war. Men, women, boys… are going forward and getting guns and getting deployed to defend the country.’
The update comes as a senior US defense official said Friday that Russia has ‘about a third of their combat power’ in Ukraine, adding: ‘That does not mean that they will not commit more.’
‘I’m out here, again, I’m safe. We haven’t been told to move, and I’m just following instructions. That’s all I can say,’ he said at the start of the video.
The DWTS pro also warned that people in the Ukraine ‘are very aggressively charged.’
He said: ‘If it’s not resolved in a peaceful manner in some way or form in the next day or so, or two, I think it’s gonna take a turn for very, very much more aggressive actions and a lot more casualties.’
Talking about the horrors of the situation, he added: ‘There are kids that are getting sick, people are sheltering and people that aren’t able to just get up and run, right: small children, elderly people.’
‘This is like it is in every conflict, I’m just drawing attention to the fact that this is what’s happening.’
Story: Maksim’s brother Valentin Chmerkovskiy also posted this message on Friday
Prayers needed: Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s wife Peta Murgatroyd is asking for prayers as the Ukrainian-born dancer remains in Kyiv following a Russian invasion into the country over night; Peta and Maksim pictured on February 13
Speaking out: ‘Please pray for my husband Maks. I don’t usually ask these things from my social media network, however today is extremely hard and the next few days will be even harder,’ Murgatroyd, 35, posted to Instagram on Thursday
On Thursday, Kyiv ordered civilians to bomb shelters and declared a curfew amid fears Russia will strike the city after Ukrainian troops lost control of a key airfield around 15 miles away.
In a video posted yesterday, Maksim also directly slammed Russian president Vladimir Putin: ‘I think that in 2022 [in a] civilized world, this is not the way we do things.’
‘This is all one man’s ambition’, he continued.
‘However it sounds, however convenient it sounds in Moscow, however comfortable you are where you are in Russia, I just don’t think that this is the right thing and this is the right steps and these are the correct actions.’
The star promised to try to keep followers abreast of the situation unfolding abroad and asked for people to respect his wife’s privacy at this time.
‘There’s ALWAYS another way! WAR is NEVER an answer! #standwithukraine,’ he penned in the caption of the video.
‘S**t’s going down’: Ukrainian-born Dancing With the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy is fearing for his life and the lives of his friends in Kyiv following a Russian invasion into the country over night