“I feel guilty. I feel guilty. I feel bad,” Chmerkovskiy proclaimed. “I feel shamed. I feel upset.”
The Ukrainian dancer poured his heart out about what was happening in his home country. Chmerkovskiy - who was in Ukraine as the invasion began - has since returned to the US reunited with his wife Peta Murgatroyd.
Even though the DWTS alum is now over 6,000 away from the invasion — he claims to still be dealing with the mental trauma of it all.
Chmerkovskiy told GMA that he was still in a "fight or flight" mindset. "I’m a big boy, but I know for a fact that I’m going through something mentally because I get into these cry moments, emotional, I can’t control it,” he explained.
“I cried on the way from the airport. I felt embarrassed the entire ride back because I was the only man on the train amongst all women and children.”
Videos and photos have been making the rounds online of fathers and husbands saying goodbye to their families. Ukrainian citizens in the country were ordered to join the armed forces to push the Russian invasion targeting the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
Chmerkovskiy also spoke out about his arrest in Ukraine and how his celebrity status saved his life. After being arrested for breaking curfew, the dancer said one officer recognized him from DWTS, so he was able to go on his way.
“[Being recognized] absolutely saved me, but it’s not like I was going to get shot,” Chmerkovskiy explained. “I was going to get probably put somewhere where I can sit until they figure out who I am and check my identity."
This was his alleged wake up call. “It would’ve been fine, but I felt like things got real,” he continued, “and all of a sudden I don’t have all of the things needed to feel safe in this place at all. I’m not built for this at all.”