‘DWTS’ Star Maksim Chmerkovskiy on His Harrowing 31-Hour Escape From Ukraine

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Among the many scrambling to escape war-torn Kyiv was Ukrainian-born “Dancing with the Stars” choreographer Maksim Chmerkovskiy. The dancer was born in Odessa and immigrated to Brooklyn, New York in 1994. In Ukraine, Russia invaded.  

The dancer was able to document his terrifying journey from the United States with only a backpack.

“Hundreds of women and children are crammed into every train…Walkways are packed. People everywhere. It’s sweaty and claustrophobic,”Chmerkovskiy wrote.

Men between the ages 18 and 60 were prohibited from leaving, but Chmerkovskiy could leave because he was an American citizen and has a U.S. Passport.

“I’m at a station about 30 minutes before the border with Poland,”Chmerkovskiy stated that his train was close to the border when it broke down.

After 31 hours of sleepless nights, he finally reached Poland on Tuesday morning.

Every day thousands arrive in desperate attempts to flee the Russian bombardment. 

The European Union on Tuesday estimated that up to four million people may try to leave Ukraine because of the Russian invasion. More than 670,000 people have crossed into countries bordering Ukraine, including Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Moldova, the UN said. 

The UN has estimated there are at least 160,000 people in Ukraine who have fled the war and are displaced within their own country, but the EU said that number could reach seven million, and that 18 million Ukrainians will be affected by the war.

“Even though these are very rough estimates,”European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic spoke to the BBC. “The figures are huge, and we have to prepare for this kind of emergency, which is of historical proportions.”

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