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Looting Continues

Russian forces have trashed equipment and vehicles at the port

3 p.m. local time (11 a.m. GMT)

A couple of new developments. A little while ago up to 30 Russian soldiers and their two armored vehicles went inside the Poti marine forces HQ and the local coast-guard station. They took military equipment, air conditioners -- everything that had been left behind.

I found out details about the man who had been beaten up by Russian forces. His name is Ramaz Zhvania, and he is 28 years old. The incident happened at one of the checkpoints -- apparently Zhvania was walking near the checkpoint, and the Russians, for some reason, didn't like this. First they fired several shots, and then caught him and savagely beat him up. Zhvania was taken to hospital, where he was examined by a neurosurgeon.

According to the doctor, Levan Shurghaia, Zhvania's condition is grave -- his neck and skull are fractured, and he is in need of further tests and procedures. Family members want to have him moved to a hospital in Kutaisi, a city between Poti and Tbilisi. Apart from journalists, it seems the Russian forces are also forbidding regular citizens from going near any of their checkpoints.

Since my last blog entry, I spoke with representatives of transportation companies, who told me that the Russian forces have not been stopping cars and trailers that are leaving Poti and traveling eastward. Poti continues to receive food supplies, as well as humanitarian aid.

The town continues to live its life -- public transport is functioning without any complications, there is an uninterrupted supply of water and electricity. But the general atmosphere remains tense. I spoke to several people today, and one elderly man told me that even during World War II he was not as scared as he is now.