Matthew Chance is CNN’s chief global affairs correspondent. He has reported extensively on major stories for CNN’s global news networks from the Middle East, Afghanistan, Russia and Chechnya, Ukraine, Europe and the Far East for more than 20 years.
He has conducted interviews with many current and former world leaders including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko and former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf.
Chance has extensively covered the ongoing war in Ukraine, reporting regularly from both Ukraine and Russia. He was reporting live on CNN from Kyiv when the invasion started with Russian airstrikes around the Ukrainian capital. In the days that followed Chance reported live as an intense firefight broke out between Russian and Ukrainian forces at the Antonov airbase, and also witnessed the aftermath of a fierce and deadly battle on the outskirts of Kyiv.
As Russian assaults on Ukrainian cities escalated, Chance secured an exclusive interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his bunker in Kyiv. He had previously interviewed Zelensky in April 2021 while on a tour of the front lines in Donbas, gaining unprecedented access to the Ukrainian president as he warned that a Russian invasion was a very real possibility.
Chance’s reporting contributed to the network’s David Kaplan Award from the Overseas Press Club of America earlier this year.
In June 2023 Chance was reporting in Kyiv when Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner private military company, announced an armed insurrection against Putin. Chance then traveled to Moscow to cover the failed uprising against the Kremlin. Two months later he covered the death of Prigozhin following a plane crash outside Moscow, where he visited the bulldozed site of the crash as well as a makeshift memorial for the late Wagner chief.
In 2021 he reported from Belarus last year when thousands of migrants from war-torn countries like Syria and Iraq tried desperately to cross into Poland. Chance spent several days on the ground, getting exclusive access to a makeshift migrant camp at Bruzgi and even getting hit by a water cannon as violence erupted along the Belarus-Poland border.
Chance also investigated an elaborate intelligence sting operation by Ukraine to lure alleged war criminals out of Russia to face prosecution for atrocities committed in eastern Ukraine where separatists backed by Moscow have been fighting for years. Ukraine initially denied CNN’s report, but eventually the country’s ruling part admitted it was a Ukrainian operation.
Chance was one of the journalists held by forces of Colonel Gaddafi at the Rixos al Nasr hotel in Tripoli, Libya, in August 2011. He reported by Twitter throughout the period of his capture and was live on CNN as the International Committee of the Red Cross finally evacuated the detainees.
Chance also led CNN’s coverage of the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict, reporting from the frontlines. With his team, Chance was the only television correspondent to cross from Georgian to Russian territory, filing reports from Tskinvali, the devastated capital of the South Ossetia war zone. When the conflict ended, Chance secured an exclusive interview with the Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin – the network’s first for eight years. Chance also sat down with Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, for a one-on-one interview.
In other assignments, Chance reported from Mumbai, India, where he covered the 2008 militant attacks on the city and the siege of the landmark Taj Majal Hotel.
In 2005, Chance reported from the scene of the London bombings in July and carried out investigative reporting on the terrorists responsible for the catastrophe. He also reported on the Tsunami tragedy from Phuket where he documented heartbreaking stories of tourists from 27 nations caught in the disaster in December 2004.
In Russia, Chance reported on the Beslan school siege in September 2004 when 344 civilians perished in the three-day standoff between Chechen rebels and Russian security forces. He also covered the Moscow theatre hostage crisis in October 2002, in which nearly 800 people were held captive by Chechen rebels. His reports documented how Russian special forces pumped lethal gas into the theatre auditorium to subdue the hostage takers before storming in. He has also travelled repeatedly to Chechnya, where a bitter war continues unabated between separatist rebels and Russian troops.
In the Middle East, Chance reported extensively from Iraq in the aftermath of the 2003 war. He has also spent months documenting the hardships and bloodshed felt by both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, from Palestinian suicide attacks against Israelis to the impact of that country’s military action in the occupied territories. He was the first journalist to interview the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, after Israeli troops lifted a siege on his Ramallah compound in May 2002. He also covered the Israeli siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in May 2002. In 2005 he covered the disengagement of Israel from Gaza. And in 2007, he returned to the region to report from the frontlines in the war between Israel and the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah.
As nuclear tensions simmered between India and Pakistan, Chance flew to the central Asian country of Kazakhstan to interview the Pakistani president, General Pervez Musharraf. In the interview, General Musharraf clarified his policy on the use of nuclear weapons.
Chance joined CNN in October 2001 when he reported from Northern Afghanistan. As Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance forces, he was the first CNN correspondent, and one of the first Western reporters, to arrive in the city, entering the Afghan capital on foot. He then reported on the emotional outpouring as the people of Kabul reacted to the departure of the Taliban.
Between 1996 and 2001, Chance was a freelance correspondent based in Sri Lanka, Bangkok and London. Some of the events he covered on behalf of CNN include the violence in East Timor, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and the refugee crisis in Kosovo. He has also reportedly extensively on the troubles in Chechnya, spending almost 18 months in Russia and Chechnya reporting for CNN. Previously he worked in London as a broadcast journalist for the BBC World Service.
Chance is British and attended the University of London where he earned a BA in Archaeology and Art from the School of Oriental and African Studies.