Val Chmerkovskiy Recalls Brother Maksim Being 'Petrified' in Ukraine

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While bravely facing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Maksim Chmerkovskiy was scared. 

During an appearance on Conversations With Olivia Jade, Maksim's younger brother, Val Chmerkovskiy, recalled what it was like having his sibling in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, a month ago as Russia began attacking.

"My brother was in Kyiv when the invasion started, and we were all really nervous, obviously," Val told Olivia, who was his dance partner on Dancing With the Stars. "He was petrified, we talked about it, and he was grateful to get out."

While he eventually reunited with his wife, Peta Murgatroyd, and their son in California after an arduous journey to the Polish border -- one he documented parts of on social media -- the 42-year-old ballroom pro has since returned to Poland to join relief efforts on the ground.

As Val said, "He is now right back at the Polish border trying to do whatever he can."

And while Maks is back overseas now, the privilege of their safety in the United States is not lost on Val. "It's good that we’re safe here -- the privilege of living in this country -- but there are a lot of our friends and family and peers that are in Ukraine right now that are, like I said, in bomb shelters," he said. "And I think we’re getting a little used to hearing that word, and we’re kinda like, 'Ok cool.' No, no, no, you don't understand what that is. That means you don't have a home, and you have to hide in a shelter with nothing there."

Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy
Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Val referenced an unnamed fellow dancer he competed with who apparently has since "picked up an AK-47" and is patrolling his street. "I don't know [if] that's the kind of life," Val said, "we wanna have in this world."

In the meantime, the siblings are doing what they can to help, having launched their own humanitarian initiative, Baranova27, named after the street of their childhood home in Ukraine. 

"He's seeing that he's making a difference," Bethenny Frankel recently told ET of Maks. "He can have an impact."

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