Ukrainian-Nigerian Maxym (Max) Yezhov, a famous dancer and choreographer, has revealed how the long-running Russia-Ukraine war made him what he described as true patriot.
Maxym, in an exclusive interview with Vanguard, noted that with the silver medalist of the “Dancing with the Stars” contest in Ukraine, life changed in a matter of a day.
At first, like many others, Maxym was stunned and found it hard to believe that Ukraine was under Russia’s full-scale invasion.
He stated, “I’ve worked hard for what I had at home, and everything disappeared in one day. Of course, titles and awards remained, but who needs them when there is a war going on.”
Maxym cut ties with his Ukrainian colleagues that stood on the Russian side, while he did everything he could to support Ukraine. He immediately joined a Charitable Foundation, “Svitly”, and Volunteer Center, “Pechersk,” – the volunteer center of Svitlana Legka.
“Svitly” currently cares for children’s inclusive center, kindergarten, hospice, and military personnel. The fund distributes aid and holds charity concerts and sports competitions.
Maxym has not looked back since then, has continued his volunteering work, and has been involved in many funds and initiatives around the country.
Born in Kharkiv, the second-largest city located in northeast Ukraine, Maxym’s mother is Ukrainian, while his father is from Nigeria, but he was raised mostly by his aunt and grandmother.
Maxym and his father have not been in touch for 23 years, but a couple of years ago, Yezhov went to Nigeria to see his father’s big family.
Today, his father is a big advocate for peace in Ukraine and is trying hard to contribute to stopping Russia’s aggression. Not just because of his son’s well-being but for the sake of spreading the truth about Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in times when Russian propaganda has covered the news.
Maksym’s mother and grandmother lived in Kharkiv when the war began, and Russians heavily bombed the city. Despite Maksym and his sister’s many requests, grandmother refused to leave Kharkiv because it’s the only home she has known for years, keeping memories of her life.
But, after the Russians shelled the city, killed numerous peaceful citizens, and destroyed water, light, and heat supply systems, the sister persuaded the grandmother to leave Kharkiv.
However, the mother, a nurse, has stayed back to help people at the local hospital, where scores of civilians arrive, wounded by the persistent shelling that Russia continues to cynically refer to as the “liberation” of the region. Yezhov’s uncle has been on the frontlines since the beginning of the war, barely escaping death several times.
Like millions of Ukrainians, Yezhov lost his job and projects because of the war. But the silver lining came a couple of months later when he was invited to participate in the “Dancing with the Stars” contest in Georgia together with a top Ukrainian singer Olha Polyakova.
They are the only Ukrainian couple on the TV show, and their performances are all about Ukraine – Ukrainian flags, Ukrainian songs, and national apparel.
Maxym believes this is a way to keep Ukraine on the international agenda. So everyone remembers about the war in his country, and the atrocities and Russian crimes of this war committed against regular people.