Dancing With The Stars pro, Maks Chmerkovskiy has been sharing his experience in Kyiv, Ukraine during the Russian Invasion that was launched yesterday. The 42-year-old native-Ukrainian dancer began uploading videos to Instagram yesterday from a safe area in Kyiv, and he emotionally explained his perspective on the situation.

The first videos were filmed from a balcony view of downtown Kyiv, and the sirens of emergency vehicles could be heard in the background. The dancer began tearing up and said, “You know me, I stay strong and I don’t show it. But I want to go back home … What I’m realizing is that my friends whose kids are here and whose moms, dads are here, and elderly people are here. And they can’t just escape, you know?”

He clarified that he is safe at his hotel, which is fitted with a bomb shelter. Chmerkovskiy was participating as a judge in the filming of Ukraine’s World of Dance, and he had remained in the country because he “was hoping that the finality of this situation would be averted and that there wasn’t going to be these kinds of aggressive measures.”

After about a week of military exercises at Ukraine’s border, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” to invade Ukraine Thursday morning. He said that the move was to secure independence for Donbas, a separatist region in Ukraine, and claimed that Russia does not plan on occupying that or other Ukrainian territories. Several cities and military bases in Ukraine have reported rocket and missile attacks.

“The situation is pretty dire,” Chmerkovskiy began a new video uploaded early on Friday. “People are being mobilized, the whole country has been called to go to war. Men, women, boys, there’s people that I was judging some days ago in dance competitions that are going forward, and getting guns and getting deployed to defend the country.”

In another video, he clarified his plan for whether he’s leaving. “I’m not moving towards the border currently … some of my friends are right now on the route to [the] Polish border. But they are also reporting that it’s quite dangerous.”

His wife, another DWTS coach Peta Murgatroyd, asked fans of the show to send her and her husband “positive light and love” through this difficult situation. “Many of you are asking for details and I don’t have the answers, but yes, he is safe right now. Please pray that he comes home soon,” Murgatroyd also wrote.

According to Ukrainian officials, at least 57 people have been killed so far in attacks related to the invasion of Ukraine.

Read more about: