“I said, ‘Where are they then?’” Chance told The Associated Press later. “He said, ‘We’re the Russians.’ We were like, what? We had no idea. The whole complexion changed. Suddenly, I realized we’d stumbled upon the advance position of Russian special airborne forces who had been deployed a couple of hours ago to take the airport.”

For journalists, the confusion surrounding Russia’s attack on Ukraine deepened the challenge of covering it — and made one CNN reporter’s stumbling upon an airport under attack Thursday all the more remarkable, AP reports.

While Russia’s invasion had been an ominous possibility for months, it unfolded with little reliable information from the attackers. Many reporters depended upon sporadic audio and video of bombs exploding in the distance, and details from Ukrainians and American intelligence, to try to tell the story of citizens in a Western-styled democracy suddenly plunged into war.

CNN’s Matthew Chance followed a tip from a Ukrainian source when he and a crew rushed to an airport about 20 miles outside the capital city of Kyiv.

Russians had attacked, but by the time Chance had arrived, he was informed that Ukrainians had regained control of the airport. He approached some soldiers guarding the gates for confirmation and was told he was mistaken.

He thought he was talking to Ukrainians.

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