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New Russian Armor Arrives, Unannounced And Unwelcome

8 p.m. local time (4 p.m. GMT)

There's been a new development. Russian forces brought in additional military hardware today.

Six armored vehicles entered Poti. Two of them are now at the checkpoint at the entrance of the town. The remaining four are stationed at a second checkpoint, located at Nabada.

The Russians did not let anyone know they were planning to do this. The authorities did not receive any notice before the hardware was brought in, nor have they been told anything since.

A short time ago I spoke to Poti's deputy in parliament, Temur Tsurtsumia, who thinks the new Russian armor is related to the presence of the destroyer "USS Mount Whitney," which is anchored outside Poti's harbor. Tsurtsumia said he believes the Russians are uneasy about this display of support from the United States and are trying to counter it by instilling fear among Poti's residents.

Whether or not this is really what the Russians are aiming for, it has to be said that there’s definitely been a change in the overall atmosphere today.

In contrast to previous days, when the ambiance in town had grown increasingly relaxed, today there is certain anxiety in the air. People are now really skeptical that the Russians are going to leave Poti anytime soon.

I heard a lot of talk about possible incidents or provocations. Many families have already sent their children off to nearby villages, away from Poti.

On the surface, townspeople continue to live their normal lives; public transportation is working; shops and restaurants are open; and the parks are full of people. But everywhere you go, there are a lot of worried faces.