If there’s one thing ‘Dancing With The Stars’ pro Maks Chmerkovskiy wants people to know about the conflict in Ukraine right now, its that nothing is slowing down. Providing an update to fans from Warsaw, Poland via his Instagram, Maks urged people to keep supporting and donating to his native Ukraine, instead of getting bogged down by an activism hangover. “A lot of people still need our help, and we should continue providing the support,” he shared. “We now showed Ukraine as a world that we can all do it together, and we have to continue probably doing that.”
Maks first shared the roughly 15-minute clip via his Instagram Live, after advising followers to tune in to hear some updates from him. Addressing photos of him in LA after he received backlash for fleeing the country while less opulent refugees could not, Maks shared he “enjoyed some of that Los Angeles weather” with friends and family while stateside. But signed onto the video from Warsaw, Poland, where he is back on the ground in Eastern Europe doing everything he can to support his home country.
Maks began the clip, first shared on his Instagram live, sharing an update on the Barranova27, the charity he runs alongside his father Aleksandr and younger brother Valentin, who is also a choreographer. Maks sweetly revealed the origin story behind the charity’s name, sharing that Barranova27 was the address of the house where Maks and his brother grew up in Ukraine with his father: an indelible reminder of home. “That’s where our roots are at,” he shared.
Emotionally discussing the work the charity has been able to do so far, Maks explained that he’s focused on “tangible” ways Barranova27 can support the refugee crisis in Ukraine. “We feel like we’re doing a lot of great work, and we’re just getting a taste of the fact that it’s getting delivered, and we’re seeing it in the right hands,” Maks shared. “We’re seeing the positive that comes out of the work that we and every one of you people that have donated [has] done.”
Maks highlighted activists he’s working with on the ground like fellow dancer Jakub Rybicki, who Maks said has been “doing incredible work since day one of this war,” like welcoming 12 people into his home and placing hundreds of people around his city. Maks also highlighted a new housing initiative Barranova is pursuing after a wildly successful initial GoFundMe to provide shelter for the Malitowski family.
To close the video, Maks got personal with followers. Recognizing people may begin to get tired, Mak “It didn’t end or slow down, it got worse in Ukraine. Everything that happened, happened fast, and it was traumatic and worldwide and everything, but right now, it’s getting worse. The humanitarian crisis is getting worse.” Though Maks urged everyone to take a breath, he begged all who watched to come back and continue showing up for Ukraine as a world collective.
Maks’ wife and fellow professional dancer Peta Murgatroyd showed her hubby love in the comments, even as Maks’ mission in his homeland leaves him far from Petra and their son Shai Aleksandr, 5. Holding it down in the U.S. for Maks (and surely missing him after they were able to reunite in LA) Petra still showed her support, commenting: “Proud of you.”