Maksim Chmerkovskiy Returns to Poland to Help Ukrainian Refugees
By Mona Khalifeh
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Maksim Chmerkovskiy has returned to Europe to help Ukraine amid its ongoing war with Russia. ET has learned that Maks has left L.A. and is now in Poland helping with refugee relief efforts.
The news of Maks' trip back to the war-torn region comes after a recent interview with CNN, in which the 42-year-old professional dancer revealed that he feels “survivor’s remorse” since making his return to the United States from the country he once called home.
"I spent the last couple of days with survivor’s remorse," the Dancing With the Stars alum said after landing back in Los Angeles. "And I’m currently working on an opportunity to go back. Probably sometime next week I’m going to go back to Poland and joining efforts on the ground. Sort of want to justify my safe out that way."
Maks' wife, Peta Murgatroyd, took to her Instagram Story Saturday to share that she's already missing her husband, who had been back in the U.S. less than 3 weeks before returning to Poland, where he had fled to shortly after the start of the war.
"Missing you already," Peta wrote over the adorable pic of Maks and their son, Shai, 5.
Maks took to Instagram Live after arriving in Poland to give fans an update about what he's doing in there and how he plans to aid in relief efforts for his home country.
"Hi everybody," he began. "I'm fine. I'm good. I spent some time at home. I enjoyed some of that Los Angeles weather. Saw my family, saw my friends, obviously spent some time. And we've been working. We've been working on tangible opportunities to help."
The dancer went on to share that he and his family have started a charitable organization called Baranova 27, which is named after the address that he was born at in the Ukrainian city of Odesa.
"My father and my bother, together with a lot of people that we work with all the time, that we just friends with, and with the help of whom, we've started our organization, Baranova 27. For those of who've been following, Baranova 27 is the address where my father, myself and Val were born, in Odesa in Ukraine. So, that's where, sort of our roots are at. And we've been working diligently on making Baranova 27 something that, as big as it took off, that it can continue that way."
Maks went on to share his plans for the organization as well as an upcoming fundraiser. He also said he's going to visit Bethenny Frankel's organization, BStrong, and help in their aid of the Ukrainian people.
He went on to share that he will continue helping the people of Ukraine and will be on the ground in Poland to organize and distribute aid, providing updates to fans -- and the world, along the way.
Before concluding the live video, Maks shared another plea for Ukraine amid the ongoing war, which he said is only getting worse.
"Right now, we're getting a little bit hungover, people are getting tired," he acknowledged. And this is the time, that I would like to ask everybody to realize that it didn't not end or slow down, it got worse in Ukraine."
"Humanitarian crisis is getting worse. People are getting hurt worse. There are more people hurt, and there are more people affected," Maks continued. "I would really, really like for you guys to give yourself a day off. Tune out, go to church, spend time with your family. Do your thing. But please, come back to us and come back to realization that a lot of people still need our help, and we should continue providing this support, because we now showed Ukraine as a world, that we can all do it together, and we have to continue probably doing that."
ET spoke with the dancing pro, who was overcome with emotion. "I just don't want to resent peace somewhere else because of what I just saw, that's the reality. I don't know really what to say right this second,” Maks said.
Maks addressed photographers and reporters who were at the airport awaiting his arrival. "The reason why Ukraine is standing right now is because of the Ukrainian people," he said, explaining that this sort of conflict was something many had been expecting for years. "And the fact that the entire world is helping."
"Huge shout-out to Poland, huge shout-out to neighboring countries," he added. "The way I was treated through the whole process of leaving into Poland, I've just got to bow down to the Polish people."
Following Maks' return home a source told ET that "Peta is so thrilled to have Maks home and back with her and their son. She has been going through it and has been worried sick and emotional."
"Peta and Maks have received a ton of outpouring support from their friends and Dancing With the Stars family," the source added. "They are both incredibly grateful for that."
Maks, who left the country in the '90s when it was part of the Soviet Union, was in Ukraine filming the upcoming season of World of Dance. From the first day of the invasion, Maks gave updates about his time in a bomb shelter, being arrested in Kyiv, and finally when he made it on the train in Warsaw, Poland, where he began his journey back to the United States.