Global Politics

Update on the Russia-Georgia conflict

GG says people in Georgia would welcome U.S. assistance: ordinary people mention Georgian support in Iraq, and cite that as reason that the U.S. should come help. (President Bush said the U.S. support is a humanitarian mission but the U.S. presence will be there for a long time. Is anyone fearing that adding the U.S. could be a volatile mix?) That could be the case, but President Bush is making a strong show to put emphasis on where his alliance lies. But we'll have to see how the U.S. presence plays out, and where the Russian troops will be stationed. (What about the Russian troops? Where are they and what's their intent?) It's been a confused picture over the past few hours with many conflicting reports about where Russian troops are. What we've pieced together is at some point earlier today, a group of Russia military vehicles and either disarmed or destroyed a Georgian military installation near Gori. There was also a column of Russia troops heading towards Tbilisi. We understand they then headed back towards South Ossetia instead of continuing on towards Tbilisi. Here in the capitol there was tension about that movement. (There's something important about this highway to Tbilisi, right?) The significance is that it's the only highway in Georgia and it cuts the country into two parts, running east to west. If the Russians control that road, they can control the northern part of the country. the worry for the Georgians is if the Russians control the road, they cut off the rest of Georgia from the capitol. (Is it clear what Russia's intentions are?) Moscow is clear about its intentions and it believes it's in the right in this conflict. Its stated intentions are to protect the lives of the citizens of South Ossetia many of whom hold Russian passports.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

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