Maks Chmerkovskiy, the Ukrainian-born dancer was a fixture on the television show Dancing With the Stars for most of the show's run, has taken to Instagram to give a sobering glimpse at the situation in Kyiv as Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion continues to intensify.
Chmerkovskiy filmed the emotional videos from various places in the Ukrainian capital city, occasionally overcome with emotion as sirens wailed in the background.
The videos give a bracing view into the rapidly deteriorating situation in the country amid its eastern neighbor's illegal invasion. See one of the videos below.
The videos give an up-close-and-personal view into how ominous things were in Kyiv yesterday, as Putin's military closed in on the city in preparation for attacks launched earlier today.
As sirens wailed in the eerily empty streets, Chmerkovskiy admitted he shouldn't have come to Kyiv but, like many across the world, didn't think Putin would actually make good on his threats. As he put it:
"I'm in Kyiv, contrary to what I probably should've done a while ago … and not that no one saw this coming, but everybody was hoping that the finality of this situation would be averted, that there wasn't going to be these kind of aggressive measures."
In another clip Chmerkovskiy filmed, several fellow Ukrainians were seen lugging suitcases and bags through a park, presumably attempting to flee the city before the Russians began their assault.
Another video showed Chmerkovskiy overcome with emotion as military vehicles coursed through the street below him.
Barely holding back his tears, Chmerkovskiy issued a sobering message directly to the Russian people.
"I know there's a lot of people currently in Russia... that are watching the news and are hearing the propaganda and hearing this complete nonsense... I'm someone who is about to go into a bomb shelter...
"In 2022's civilized world, this is not the way we do things... I think as a powerful, forward-thinking nation the Russians need to get up and actually say something, because no one's opinion is being heard. This is all one man's ambition..."
There seems to be little chance of Chmerkovskiy's message not falling on deaf ears.
Despite Putin's massive and sustained propaganda campaigns claiming the invasion is an effort to contain Ukrainian aggression and "de-Nazify" the country--absurd accusations that are totally bogus--Russian citizens have swarmed major cities in protest since the invasion began.
And they've done so at great personal cost: Protesting is not a protected right in Russia and frequently results in brutal arrests by authorities. Some 1,800 Russians were arrested for protesting on Thursday alone.
Chmerkovskiy's bracing words definitely resonated with viewers on social media from all over the world, who voiced their support and prayers for Chmerkovskiy and his fellow Ukrainians.
Though Putin's military has begun to lay siege to the Ukrainian capital, including civilian areas and shocking atrocities against ordinary Ukrainians, there is reason for hope. Officials at the Pentagon, in the U.K. and at NATO have noted that Russia's advances have been significantly slowed by Ukrainian retaliation that has been stronger than anyone, including Putin, expected.