Michael Ware


LDT: "...for America, there simply is no military option."

Length: 3:15

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3 a.m. -- Michael speaks with Lou Dobbs and explains the Russian advances within Georgia.

LOU DOBBS: Good evening everybody. The Republic of Georgia tonight saying Russia now controls a third of its territory. Earlier, the Russian foreign minister said Georgia can, quote, "forget about its territorial integrity", end quote. Russia is ignoring new demands by President Bush for Moscow to respect Georgia's sovereignty.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, however, saying the United States will not use military force to end Russia's aggression. We have extensive coverage tonight and we begin with Michael Ware in the Georgia capital of Tbilisi. He went to the front lines today.

Michael, what is the latest on the Russian troop movements within Georgia?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, the first thing to say is that quite frankly, for America, there simply is no military option. And that's precisely what the Russians are trying to show not just to the pro-American regime here in Georgia, but to other states here in this region.

They're trying send a strong message that Russia is back and America can nott protect you. What we know is that in this offensive here in Georgia, Russia attacked on two fronts. First, securing two pro-Russian enclaves. But they were not satisfied with that and they then advanced further into Georgia proper. Now this afternoon, we're at one of the front lines. At the furthest line of Russian advance. This is on the outskirts of the Georgian city of Gori. There I mixed with the Russian troops themselves and not only are they firmly in control, but they appeared comfortable and relaxed.

Why? Because they know that the Georgian forces -- sponsored, trained and to some degree equipped by the U.S. -- have no response. We saw the Georgian forces lining the highway leading to the city of Gori and protecting the capital Tbilisi. They're a rag tag bunch who have rallied together as best they can after the initial Russian onslaught.

But to be frank, they are no match for the Russians and the Russians know it. Now, despite promises to leave the city of Gori by the end of today, Thursday, when I left shortly before dusk the Russians were making no signs of movement. Meanwhile, on the western front, the Russians, despite previous denials, it appears certain now that they occupy the important port city of Poti.

Now what we've learned is that earlier this evening, about 100 Russian armored vehicles were seen pushing south from one of the other pro-Russian enclaves towards that port city, perhaps to reinforce the troops already there. Bottom line is the Russians are here, they're consolidating their positions even within Georgia itself beyond the enclaves. And they know and the Georgians know that there's nothing that anyone, including America, can do about it -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much. Michael Ware reporting from Tbilisi, Georgia.