Ukrainian American dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy gave an emotional missive from his homeland on Thursday after it was invaded by Russia.
Posting from Kyiv, the “Dancing With The Stars” performer suggested he probably should have left the city “a while ago” but had not expected the war.
“Everyone was hoping that the finality of the situation would be averted,” he said, as an ambulance siren was heard in the street below him. “That there was not going to be this kind of aggression.”
“I’m uneasy, I’m very scared,” he added.
The professional dancer has been in Ukraine working on a reality series, “World of Dance UA,” his representative told CNN. He was born in the Ukrainian city of Odesa and immigrated to the United States in 1994.
In a second clip, he showed an ambulance and a military truck speeding down a city street within his view. “I want to go back home,” he told followers, choking up. “I realize that I have the way to, I have a different passport and my family is far away. What I’m realizing is that my friends whose kids are here … they can’t just escape.”
He said he was about to go to a bomb shelter. Residents of the city have flocked to underground subway stations as well as basements and purpose-built bunkers to shelter as the city faced what Ukrainian officials said were missile and airstrikes.
Chmerkovskiy’s wife, Australian dancer Peta Murgatroyd, asked her social media followers to pray for her husband.
“Please pray that he comes home soon,” she said. “Please pray that he has a swift, safe exit.”
“Please pray for Ukraine and the innocent civilians who’s lives are being greatly uprooted,” she added. “I grew to love this country the couple of times I visited and they’re in an unfathomable situation.”
The two live in Los Angeles with their 5-year-old son, Shai.
Chmerkovskiy won “Dancing With the Stars” in 2014 with partner Meryl Davis, an Olympic ice dancer, and had been performing with the show since 2005. He has also served as a guest judge.