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Maksim Chmerkovskiy posts about ‘traumatizing’ exit from Ukraine

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

Maksim Chmerkovskiy has shared that he has made it safely to Poland from his native Ukraine.

The “Dancing With the Stars” alum has been documenting his time in Ukraine during the invasion by Russian forces.

In a note posted on his Instagram stories late Monday, Chmerkovskiy wrote that he had made it onto a train bound for Poland.

“We’re heading to Warsaw, hopefully. Train to Lviv was not an option,” the note read. “The situation at the train station is insane. At first it feels manageable but it gets a lot worse when it comes time to actually board the train. Long story but all I can say now is that I’m a big man with nothing but a backpack and it’s traumatizing.”

He wrote that he was squeezed into a train cabin that ordinarily is occupied by no more than three people “with four adults and 7 kids (ages 2-11).”

“There’s usually up to 30 people in this particular wagon. We were told we have to fit 135,” he added. “Walkways are packed. People everywhere. It’s sweaty and claustrophobic.”

He wrote of an emotional scene he said he witnessed.

“What finally broke me is when I was watching an eight-ish year old boy hysterically crying and not wanting to let go of his father,” Chmerkovskiy wrote. “Verbatim: ‘If you stay, I want to stay too because if they kill you I won’t be able to help.

In a subsequent video, the dancer and choreographer reiterated that the train cars were packed with more than 100 people inside and they were at a stop outside the Polish border because the train had to change wheels.

“You can’t make this up,” he said.

Chmerkovskiy later posted that after 31 hours without sleep, he had made it into Poland.

“I absolutely have to say this: Polish people are amazing!!!!!,” he wrote in a note.”Thank you from the absolute bottom of my heart.”

According to his representative, Chmerkovskiy, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine with his family in the 1990s, had been in Ukraine last week working on the reality competition series “World of Dance UA.”

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