Maks Chmerkovskiy Opens Up About The Guilt He Feels Over Leaving Ukraine

Maks Chmerkovskiy is opening up about his escape from Ukraine. The former "Dancing With the Stars" pro was in Ukraine to judge the country's iteration of "World of Dance" when Russia invaded on February 24. As Ukrainians scrambled to find shelter and ways to flee the war-torn country, Chmerkovskiy documented his experience on Instagram, posting heartbreaking videos about his surroundings and overall lack of morale.

"I will never be the same," Chmerkovskiy captioned one of his earlier videos. "This is stressful and I'm getting old feelings back, like I've done this before. This does feel like the way it was when and why we left in the 90s. Like my old PTSD I've finally fixed is coming back."

A few days later, Chmerkovskiy gave another update to his followers, saying he was briefly arrested after attempting to escape his home country. Fortunately, Chmerkovskiy was released and made his way to Warsaw, Poland where flew back to Los Angeles on March 2, according to Entertainment Tonight. Chmerkovskiy was picked up by his wife and fellow "DWTS" pro at LAX airport. Now, two days after he landed, Chmerkovskiy has given his first on-camera interview and detailed his struggles in Ukraine.

Maks Chmerkovskiy feels "guilty" for leaving Ukraine

Maks Chmerkovskiy says he's overcome with emotion after escaping from his native country Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. The ballroom dancer gave a remote interview to "Good Morning America" on March 4, saying he feels "guilty" for being able to escape the country when so many people are still stuck there as the Russian military continues its invasion. "I feel guilty. I feel bad," he said. "I feel shamed. I feel upset."

Chmerkovskiy then revealed he's dealing with mental trauma stemming from the experience. "I'm still in a very much in that fight-or-flight [mode]," he explained. "I'm a big boy, but I know for a fact that I'm going through something mentally ... because I get into these cry moments, I'm emotional, I can't control it." Maks also admitted he felt "embarrassed" making his way back to the States because he was "the only man on the train amongst all women and children." Chmerkovskiy went on to detail his brief arrest, saying he was apprehended for breaking curfew but was able to get released because an officer recognized him for being on "Dancing With the Stars." Still, Chmerkovskiy is grateful for his safety. 

Throughout the harrowing ordeal, Chmerkovskiy had the support of his wife, Peta Murgatroyd, who asked people to pray for him on Instagram, per Us Weekly. The couple shares 5-year-old son Shai Alexander together.