Michael Ware


EC: "What I'm seeing, essentially, is the Russian army sitting pretty."

Length: 2:23

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Michael speaks with Campbell Brown about the message Russia is sending to America and to countries in the region of Georgia -- especially former territories of the Soviet Union -- that have allied with America.

CAMPBELL BROWN: Now we want to turn to the crisis in Georgia, where the president says one-third of his country is occupied by the Russians tonight. There are some fast-moving developments.

CNN's Michael Ware was with some of the Russian troops earlier today and joins us from Georgia's capital, Tbilisi.

Michael, I know you've been to the front lines. Tell us what you're seeing.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Campbell, what I'm seeing essentially is the Russian army sitting pretty exploiting a current American vulnerability, while the U.S. military is overstretched with its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, what's happened here in the small state of Georgia is that the Georgian government, a pro-American regime, launched an offensive against pro-Russian rebels, most likely with the knowledge of the U.S. military. In response, Russia counter-attacked with a move that was almost likely -- just as likely prepared in advance.

The Russian offensive was mounted on two fronts. Now, the Russians seized two pro-Russian enclaves. But they weren't happy with that. They then pushed into Georgia itself. Now, the U.S. military can't make a move here and Russia's exploiting that, Campbell.

BROWN: Michael, there is a message here for the U.S. Russia's being very clear about it.

WARE: Well, what Russia is doing is trying to send a message not just to this very pro-American regime in Georgia, but to other states here in the region, many of them former elements of the Soviet Union.

We've seen the expansion of NATO. We've seen America supporting more and more of these states and that has troubled Russia. Russia has bided its time and this is the moment it's believed is best to strike. When America is overstretched. They waited for the provocation from the Georgian military, so-called, in response to pro- Russian rebels and they struck decisively.

So, as Secretary Rice is due to arrive tomorrow at some time, that's the situation that confronts her. A Russia that believes it's got all the cards in its favor and is going to be very hard to deal with -- Campbell.

BROWN: Michael Ware for us tonight. Michael, thanks.

WARE: Thank you.