Bethenny Frankel Shares Her Maksim Chmerkovskiy Conversation and How She's Helping Ukraine (Exclusive)

The 'ROHNY' alum also talks about how her BStrong initiative is helping Ukraine.

Bethenny Frankel has been in communication with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who is currently stuck in Ukraine while the nation is under attack by Russia, and she shared with ET what those conversations consisted of and how her BStrong initiative is making an impact with those fleeing the war-torn country.

The 51-year-old mogul talked to ET's Kevin Frazier and they discussed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and how it has affected families throughout the world. More specifically, Frankel shared in great detail about what she and the Dancing With the Stars pro recently talked about and the advice she's shared with him. 

"I was saying, I don't think that he should get overly political because we're dealing with an unknown factor," Frankel tells ET. "I don't want him to be seen as an enemy of Russia, and talking about things like propaganda. I don't think it's time for politics. It's definitely not time for politics for us, but I don't think it is for him because I want him to get out safe."

On Thursday, Chmerkovskiy took to social media and spoke out from the capital of Kyiv amid Russia's invasion of the country. The 42-year-old ballroom dancer, who grew up in Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union, was in the country filming as a judge for the upcoming season of Ukraine's World of Dance. He has since posted a couple of more videos on his Instagram, imploring for peace and assuring fans he's safe. His wife, Peta Murgatroyd, also asked fans to pray for him.

"Maksim is strong, he's smart, he's tough, he's connected, he’s got good people around him, he's protected, he's staying close to the reporters," Frankel says. "These world-renowned reporters that are on the front line, that seems to be, to me, the most protected place to be; to stay near them, not go out on your own. [He's] totally together and collected from what I heard. He sounds like he's secure and he's got it under control."

Frankel and Chmerkovskiy also talked about how her BStrong initiative -- in partnership with Global Empowerment Mission -- can help on the ground right now.

"He's spreading awareness about BStrong and we talked about what it's gonna be like when there's an influx of the refugees which we've already started meeting with," Frankel reveals.

The BStrong initiative, Frankel says, has built an infrastructure that's very lean and can jump at a moment's notice. Backed by $16 million in aid at the ready, Frankel and a throng of volunteers immediately sprung into action as the crisis in Ukraine started unfolding.

"We have crisis kits that are assembled and we were sending 100,000 crisis kits," says Frankel, who also has taken to Instagram to update the initiative's response in real time. "These are the survival kits with hygiene and blankets and often chargers and toiletries and things like that."

Frankel's cognizant of the fact that crisis kits alone won't be enough. The BStrong initiative could also benefit from monetary donations so that they, in turn, can donate that money to the people on the ground who are desperately trying to get as far away as possible from the conflict.

"We always realize people will need money," Frankel explains, "because, for example, the woman who we put in a hotel room just now, she was in a car with her husband. They're not allowed to leave, he's pulled out, he's never held a gun in his life. Now, he's an instant soldier and she may never see him again. She has family in Spain, so we're trying to help get her to Spain."

As for why she feels compelled to mount such an extraordinary effort for a region that's thousands of miles away, Frankel says it's part of her being.

"I can't explain it, it's like in my body," she says. "I’m a problem solver, I'm a delegator, an executer, a connector, and I just, I can do this. You're looking at these stories and these people and you can help, and I have to control myself because I get very far in. But this has been built to a scale now where I can do it without it almost killing me."

"Now, we really, really do have a massive warehouse filled with aid we really do have a system," she adds. "We really figure out who we can and can't trust and it is treacherous and there is corruption and it is often scary and it's dangerous, but if you can help, you should."



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