CNN announces plans to expand Moscow bureau amid US-Russia tensions

CNN announces plans to expand Moscow bureau amid US-Russia tensions
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CNN announced plans Thursday to expand its Moscow bureau, with the cable news network saying it will add key appointments meant as a "doubling down on its commitment to the increasingly pivotal stories emerging from Russia." 

The expanded bureau will be headed up by former Wall Street Journal bureau chief Nathan Hodge, who was stationed in the Russian capital from 2015 until recently before jumping to CNN. Hodge was previously a Kabul, Afghanistan-based correspondent for the Journal, covering Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen will join Hodge and will move from the network’s headquarters in London. 

"Pleitgen is also no stranger to Russia, with regular stints reporting on political stories from CNN’s Moscow bureau, as well as numerous embeds with the Russian military, including to Deir Ezzor, Latakia and Aleppo, Syria," reads the release, referring to Syrian cities central to that country's civil war. "In more than 12 years with CNN he has reported on stories as diverse as the conflicts in Iraq and Georgia, elections in Iran and Myanmar, as well as major stories in the USA, UK and his native Germany."

Current Moscow senior correspondent Matthew Chance, who has been with CNN since 2001, will remain in Moscow. 
 
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of Russia internationally, whether that pertains to its own upcoming elections, its alleged role in the recent U.S. elections, or issues relating to Ukraine, Europe, China, Iran, and Syria.," said Deborah Rayner, senior vice president of international newsgathering, TV and digital, for CNN. 
 
"Vladimir Putin is a uniquely compelling figure, and his agenda at home and abroad is fascinating for audiences worldwide. No one is better placed to tell those stories than Matthew and Fred, and we could not wish for a better person to head up our Moscow operation than Nathan.”
 
“The fact that CNN is doubling down on its commitment to Russia was a big factor in me taking on this role," said Hodge. 
 
"I know Fred personally from working alongside him in Syria, and I have followed Matthew’s career for a long time; both are exceptional journalists, and the whole team at the Moscow bureau is formidable. This is a crucial year for Russia, and the passion I have seen for the story at CNN makes me very excited about what’s ahead.”
 
CNN has covered the special counsel and House and Senate probes into possible collusion with Russia by Trump campaign associates extensively for the past year.