Michael Ware


TSR: "The Russians know there's nothing America can do"

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It's now midnight Friday in Georgia, and Michael has moved to the capital city of Tbilisi. In this clip, he describes how the Russian army has moved further into Georgia.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: CNN's Michael Ware is on the ground in Georgia.

Michael, we are hearing that a convoy, up to about 100 vehicles, are heading into the second largest city. What do you know? What are you seeing on the ground?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we've heard in the last hour and a half or so, Suzanne, is that approximately 100 Russian armored vehicles are indeed moving deeper into Georgian territory. Now, what we need to understand here is that in the country of Georgia, there's key disputed enclaves of pro-Russian communities. So what Russia has done has launched a key front attack into Georgia: first, to secure both of those enclaves, one in the east, one in the west; however, what Russia has since done is advance into Georgia proper, deep into sovereign Georgian territory. And indeed, we now know that the Russians are comfortably in control of at least one Georgian city, and it now appears that they're in control of a second key port city as well.

We visited one of those front lines this afternoon around the city of Gori. Now, that's a Georgian city. But we saw that the Russian troops were firmly in control. So they are very much taking the upper hand here.

At the same time, on the road leading from Gori to the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, we saw ragtag columns of the Georgian military, rallying as best they can. But to be honest, from what I witnessed, they pose very little threat to any Russian advance, if in fact that's what the Russians intend. Now, on the second front to the west, we see this armored column moving, and perhaps the Russians are consolidating further into Georgian territory.

And right now I have to say there's absolutely no incentive for the Russians to back off, and I'm afraid to say that having seen this on the ground today, I have to tell you that America is much more involved in this war. This war was much more about U.S. interests than I think folks back home realize -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And Michael, what do you think is actually happening there? Do you think that this is a threatening posture from Russia when you see the vehicles there? Or do you think they're just kind of showing off, if you will, kind of the manpower, the fact that they can be there on the ground and move without impunity?

WARE: I think it's very much the latter, Suzanne. The Russians militarily, I believe, have achieved their primary goals.

Now, from what I saw today, they were sitting, as I said, comfortably, relaxed. They didn't seem to perceive any kind of direct threat from the Georgian military. And from my personal assessment, there is no direct threat from the Georgia military.

But more importantly, Suzanne, what's the bigger picture here is that the Russians know, as Washington knows, is that there's no direct threat from the U.S. either. With its combat divisions already overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Russians know there's nothing America can do to help its ally here on the ground -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Michael Ware, on the ground in Georgia.

Thank you so much for those observations.