Val Chmerkovskiy shared a message about his home country of Ukraine amidst the ongoing Russian invasion.
“My parents fled this country for this exact reason. Not because it wasn’t good to them, but because they would see war eventually. It’s a cruel irony that 28 years later my brother is in a bomb shelter in Kyiv.”
He shared that he would be “on the front lines defending my home right now” if his parents had not left Ukraine, saying the “most heartbreaking” thing would be killing or dying at “the hands of my fellow brothers.”
“The Russian people don’t want this,” he continued. “We stood by each other’s sides. I speak Russian but make no mistake about it, I am a proud Ukrainian and now the world will finally know the difference. Slava Ukraini all day every day! And to all my Russian friends, this may be the best and only time to stand up to your dictator.”
The dancer received supportive messages in his comments section. One follower wrote, “I’m so sorry Val. I can't even imagine how hard all of this is for everyone in Ukraine and Russia. Praying as hard as I can.” Another added, “Valentin, I hope Maks comes back so very soon to all of you. That all the people in Ukraine get to safety. Everything happening needs to stop. Can't people talk without resorting to violence to make a point?”
Maks, who has a passport from the United States and can leave Ukraine, shared an update in an Instagram video earlier in the day.
"I'm safe," he said in the video. "We haven't been told to move, and I'm just following instructions. That's all I can say. But the reality is that I'm also talking to my friends that are here, the Ukrainians, and the situation is pretty dire."
Maks shared that “the whole country has been called to go to war.”
“Men, women, boys — people that I was judging some days ago in dance competitions … [are now] getting guns and getting deployed to defend the country,” he added.