Why Maksim Chmerkovskiy Bravely Made His Way Back To Europe

As Russia's invasion in Ukraine continues, the humanitarian and refugee crisis grows. An estimated 10 million Ukrainians have been displaced from their homes, choosing either to travel to a different part of the country or leave entirely, per The Washington Post.

Countries west of Ukraine, like Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, and Moldova, are taking in those fleeing from their now war-torn home, and many are choosing to stay to wait out the war. According to the BBC, however, the European Union is allowing Ukrainians to travel freely through their member countries, giving them a "blanket right to stay and work throughout the 27 nations for up to three years."

Most Ukrainians are choosing to stay in Poland, especially in cities like Krakow and Warsaw. Malgorzata Jantos, deputy of the Krakow City Council, says this is partly because of the language, culture, and closeness to Ukraine. "Last night, a train to Hanover [in Germany] had 400 places and only 100 people left," Jantos explained to Al Jazeera. "People are afraid of leaving. Here they can communicate and find a job."

But getting into Poland isn't easy. The Washington Post reports that "lines to get into Poland have stretched for miles, with people waiting through long days and frigid nights." Once they get into Poland, refugees — notably women, children, and the elderly — often end up sleeping on cots in large rooms while aid workers work to find better living arrangements for them.

The growing crisis in Poland is one of the reasons Ukrainian-born Maksim Chmerkovskiy of "Dancing With the Stars" fame returned to Eastern Europe after safely escaping Kyiv last month, per the Daily Mail.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy's new charity is meant to help Ukrainian refugees

Makism Chmerkovskiy documented his escape from Ukraine through videos on his Instagram. In them, the Daily Mail reports that he talked about the horrors visible from the train to Poland, the packed train stations, and trains packed with women and children. But, as he later told ET Online, the guilt of leaving was hard to sit with. "I just don't want to resent peace somewhere else because of what I just saw, that's the reality," he explained about his decision to go back to the same part of the world he'd just escaped from.

When the dancer first got back to the United States, the Daily Mail reports that he, with the help of his family, began raising money to help support Ukrainians, along with putting together relief packages for refugees. Chmerkovskiy named the organization "Baranova 27," the address he grew up at in Odesa, per ET Online.

What Chmerkovskiy plans to do, and what he urges others to do, is continue to help in any way he can. In an Instagram live video, reported on by ET Online, Chmerkovskiy made a plea for more help for Ukrainians. "[C]ome back to realization that a lot of people still need our help," he asked, "and we should continue providing this support, because we now showed Ukraine as a world, that we can all do it together, and we have to continue probably doing that."