Mike Eckel is a senior correspondent reporting on political and economic developments in Russia, Ukraine, and around the former Soviet Union, as well as news involving cybercrime and espionage. He's reported on the ground on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the wars in Chechnya and Georgia, and the 2004 Beslan hostage crisis, as well as the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Also by Mike Eckel
March 20, 2023
Standard Deviations: How An IMF Forecast For Russia Kicked Up A Storm
The International Monetary Fund kicked up a tempest when it forecast Russia’s sanctions-pummeled economy would grow this year. Some experts accused the lender of whitewashing dodgy statistics; others say the forecast is plausible.
March 16, 2023
Don't Call It Mobilization: Across Russia, Military Recruiters Send Out New Orders
Russia is gearing up for a new wave of recruitment to bolster its decimated ranks of troops fighting in Ukraine. Whether it will be a full-blown mobilization like the call-up the Kremlin launched last September isn’t yet clear.
March 16, 2023
Russian Activist Kara-Murza Too Ill To Attend Court, Trial Delayed Till March 20
The opening of the trial against a prominent Russian opposition activist who twice nearly died after what he says were deliberate poisoning attacks was delayed until March 20 after his lawyer told the court his health had "significantly deteriorated."
March 13, 2023
The Nord Stream Mystery: What We Know About The Baltic Sea Pipeline Blasts
A drifting Greek tanker. A chartered German sailboat. Intercepted Russian communications. The mystery over the blasts that destroyed part of the Baltic Sea pipeline bringing Russian gas to Europe deepens with revelations about German investigations and Danish marine traffic. Here's what we know.
March 07, 2023
If Bakhmut Falls: What The Battle For A City Of Little Military Significance Means For The Ukraine War
After months of intensifying onslaughts, the Donbas city of Bakhmut is now the site of the bloodiest fighting of the entire Ukraine war. It's an open question how much longer Ukraine can hold off the Russian assault and what will it mean if the city falls.
March 01, 2023
Ex-White House Official Says Putin's 'Fixation' On Empire Led To The War On Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin himself provoked the events that led to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, a former top White House official says, arguing that what he calls Putin's fixation on restoring the Russian empire may have made war all but inevitable.
February 17, 2023
What Happened In Vuhledar? A Battle Points To Major Russian Military Problems
More than two weeks after a major clash between Russian and Ukrainian forces, details are slowly emerging as to what exactly happened earlier this month in the small coal-mining town in southeastern Ukraine.
February 17, 2023
How Did Everybody Get The Ukraine Invasion Predictions So Wrong?
In the run-up to Russia’s February 2022 invasion, many doubted it would happen. And when it did, the wide consensus was that Ukraine’s military would be routed, Kyiv would be captured in days, the government would fall. None of that occurred – not even close. Why were so many people so wrong?
February 09, 2023
'The Most Dangerous Possibility': A Glimpse Into U.S. Fears Of A Russia-Ukraine War, 30 Years Ago
In a newly declassified memo from 1993, the top U.S. diplomat warned of the possibility of war between Russia and "any of a number" of its neighbors. "Ukraine not the most likely but certainly the most dangerous possibility," he wrote.
February 03, 2023
In Ukraine's Donbas, Intensifying Russian Offensives -- An Omen Of Things To Come?
After months of morale-boosting Ukrainian victories powered in part by Western weaponry, the tides of battle are turning yet again: Momentum seems to be shifting to Russia, bolstered by tens of thousands of mobilized men and thousands of prison inmates recruited by the Wagner mercenary group.
February 02, 2023
In Arrest Of Former Top FBI Agent, Shadow Of Russian Oligarch Deripaska Looms -- Again
Oleg Deripaska has lurked in the shadows of U.S. politics, law enforcement, and intelligence for decades. The arrest of a former top FBI counterintelligence agent is the latest evidence of the Russian tycoon's reach.
January 12, 2023
Surovikin's Down, Gerasimov's Up: Russia's War On Ukraine Pivots Into Politics
Three months ago, General Sergei Surovikin was charged with refocusing Russia's war on Ukraine. Now he's been demoted and a rival general named the top commander. And with that, President Vladimir Putin has roiled the 11-month invasion, injecting Kremlin politics into the war, with no end in sight.
December 23, 2022
Russia Proposes Major Military Reorganization, Conscription Changes, Increase In Troop Numbers
Russian military officials are proposing a major reorganization of the country's armed forces, including increasing the age for mandatory conscription, as casualty rates from Moscow’s 10-month-old invasion of Ukraine continue to climb.
December 22, 2022
Mr. Zelenskiy Goes To Washington. So What Did He Get From It?
Ukraine's president got a ride in a U.S. government jet, a red-carpet welcome at the White House, and more than dozen standing ovations from members of Congress -- plus a new Patriot air-defense system. But did he get what he really wanted?
December 13, 2022
'The Bakhmut Meat Grinder': Russian Troops Are Pummeling This Donbas City. It's Unclear Why.
The small Donbas city of Bakhmut is currently the focus of a ferocious Russian assault, and some of the most intense fighting of the entire 10-month invasion. Experts can’t really figure out why.
December 07, 2022
Winter Soldier, Winter Misery: Will Cold Weather Hand An Advantage To Ukraine Or Russia?
Nearly 10 months in, Russia's invasion of Ukraine is now shifting to yet another phase: winter, with the misery it inflicts on troops and the difficulties it inflicts on weaponry. So, what will change in frigid conditions -- and which side will have the advantage?
December 02, 2022
How Bad Are Things Between Russia And The U.S.? They Can't Even Agree To Discuss Nuclear Weapons Inspections.
They were supposed to meet this week -- technical experts, engineers, and treaty officials from Russia and the United States – to find a way to resume nuclear weapons inspections. Moscow pulled out at the eleventh hour, alarming arms experts, who say it’s a bad omen, now and for future talks.
December 01, 2022
U.S. Prosecutors Move To Seize $5 Million Tied To Russian Oligarch Malofeyev
U.S. prosecutors have moved to seize more than $5 million from a U.S. bank account belonging to Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeyev, a nationalist oligarch who officials say has funded separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine for years.
November 28, 2022
Tech Giant Yandex, Battered By Wartime Censorship, Reorganizes, Will Leave Russia
Russian tech giant Yandex has said it is reorganizing its operations, moving to cut its ties with Russia in a restructuring that solidifies government control over a company once seen as a bellwether for the country's digital economy.