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Russians Set Up New Checkpoint, Bring In Troops

1 p.m. local time (9 a.m. GMT)

I just learned important news -- the Russians have opened a new checkpoint in Poti, their third one altogether. Their new checkpoint is located on the seafront, some 300 meters away from the existing one at Nabada. The Russians have already dug trenches, and put armored vehicles there.

This was preceded by the continued increase of their military forces in Poti. Today, four armored vehicles, and up to 40 soldiers entered the town; yesterday six armored vehicles and, so I was told, up to 60 soldiers arrived. Right now, it is said that there is a total of almost 200 Russian soldiers in Poti. Some of the fresh forces have remained at the checkpoint at the entrance of Poti. The others have crossed the town, and are now spread out at the other two checkpoints -- the old one at Nabada, and the newly opened one nearby.

The Russians are continuing to dig trenches with excavators, and their checkpoints are fenced off with a barbed wire. The armored vehicles display "peacekeepers" stickers. Last night, a helicopter flew over Poti -- presumably, it was a Russian military one. Even more forces could still arrive during the day.

The mayor of Poti, Vano Saghinadze, has said there's been no contact between the Russians and the authorities. "The occupying forces must leave Poti. There can be no dialogue with them. This is my unconditional demand," he said.

The town itself continues to live a normal life -- public transportation is working and shops are open. But among Poti's residents, the sense of anxiety and apprehension is on the increase.