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After a Harrowing Escape From Ukraine, Maksim Chmerkovskiy Gratefully Snuggles His Son

Maksim Chmerkovskiy has made it back safely. The Dancing With the Stars pro returned to the United States last week, after getting trapped in Ukraine while filming the series World of Dance. 

His wife, Peta Murgatroyd, celebrated Chmerkovskiy’s homecoming with a gut-wrenching series of photos, featuring an emotional reunion at the airport and Chmerkovskiy snuggling with their 5-year-old son Shai.

“I have never hugged him so tight,” Murgatroyd wrote. “Shaking and forever grateful. Now it’s time to heal. We cannot go back to our normal. Our lives are forever changed. We have a new normal, and that’s ok.”

She added: “Thank you from the depths of my soul for all the support and constant outpouring of love. I see everything and I am forever thankful. Xo. GLORY TO UKRAINE.”

Chmerkovskiy, who was born in Ukraine, has been chronicling the horrors being inflicted on his home country through heartbreaking photos and videos. “WAR,” he wrote in the caption of one of his videos. “I’m tired. I’m stressed. I needed to rant. Thank you and please make some noi[s]e about this so the whole world starts screaming.”

Murgatroyd sweetly responded to her husband’s Instagram post with a simple message. “I love you,” she wrote. “You will be home soon I promise. Think about how many bbq’s we are going to have. Then the fishing trips with Shai :)❤️”

Chmerkovskiy represents one of the many, many Ukrainians dealing with unimaginable task of talking to their kids about the country’s horrifically dangerous situation. BBC News reporter Vibeke Venema experienced those painful moments firsthand, while interviewing Ukrainian families about how they’re coping with the ongoing trauma.

“Some parents tell the kids it’s a game,” Anton Eine, a science fiction writer, said. “We are trying to tell our son the truth, but in a softer way, adapted to the mind of a three-year-old kid. We tell him that bad soldiers attacked us and the good soldiers, the ones with the Ukrainian flag, are the ones who protect us, and you don’t need to worry here in this sanctuary.”

Hanna, a scientist, escaped Ukraine with her two young sons. Her husband remains behind to fight and Hanna has been fielding “heartbreaking questions” from her kids.

“They ask me every day if he is alive, or if he still has his hands and legs,” she said. “They are afraid that he can get super hurt.”

If you’re looking for ways to help, we put together a few actionable steps you can take right now.

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