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Maks Chmerkovskiy celebrates with son after return from relief work in Poland

The former "Dancing with the Stars" pro returned to Poland last month to help refugees.
Maks Chmerkovskiy and his son.
Maks Chmerkovskiy and his son.Instagram

Maksim Chmerkovskiy is back in the United States after traveling to Poland to help Ukrainian refugees displaced by Russia's invasion.

Chmerkovskiy’s wife, Peta Murgatroyd, celebrated his return on Instagram, posting a sweet video of him with their five-year-old son, Shai Aleksander. In the short clip, the former “Dancing with the Stars” pro played exuberantly with his son, lifting him over his shoulder and head multiple times at his request.

“Thank god Papa is home…now my back can heal,” Murgatroyd captioned the post, adding the hashtag, “#MumIsTakingABreak.”

Chmerkovskiy was in Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine, when Russia began attacks on the country on February 24. At the time, he was working as a judge and filming for the Ukrainian version of the competition show “World of Dance.”

Throughout the early days of the invasion of his native country, the 42-year-old dancer shared regular updates and videos to document the recent happenings. After spending several days in Kyiv as attacks continued, the dancer made the decision to leave Ukraine and head to Warsaw, Poland after he said in an Instagram story that a “train to Lviv was not an option.”

Chmerkovskiy arrived back to the United States on Wednesday, March 2 after his escape from Ukraine. The dancer spoke to Entertainment Tonight after his arrival at LAX in Los Angeles, telling the outlet, “I just don’t want to resent peace somewhere else because of what I just saw, that’s the reality. I don’t know really what to say right this second.”

He did take a moment to thank Poland and its people for assisting refugees coming from Ukraine and himself personally, adding, “The way I was treated through the whole process of leaving into Poland, I’ve just got to bow down to the Polish people.”

Murgatroyd celebrated his initial return at the time, sharing a photo that captured the special moment of the two reuniting at the airport. The second photo was a snap of Chmerkovskiy cuddling with their son. 

“I have never hugged him so tight,” Murgatroyd wrote in part in the caption. “Shaking and forever grateful. Now it’s time to heal. We cannot go back to our normal. Our lives are forever changed. We have a new normal, and that’s ok.”

Weeks after his arrival back to the United States, Chmerkovskiy announced on Sunday, March 20 that he had returned to Poland in order to help refugees who were displaced and impacted by Russia’s attacks on Ukraine.

“I’m just trying to be as informative as possible about what I’m doing personally,” he said in an Instagram video. “I’m fine. I’m good. I spent some time at home. I enjoyed some of that Los Angeles weather, saw my family, saw my friends, obviously spent some time, and we’ve been working on tangible opportunities to help.”

In the video update, Chmerkovskiy also shared that he and his family had started a charity organization called Baranova 27, which aims to provide aid and funds to Ukrainians. He explained, “We’ve been working diligently on making Baranova27 something that, as big as it took off, that it can continue that way.”