11 August 2008
Russians advance into Georgia: Sanaki captured
In a surprise development, Russian troops have advanced out of Abkhazia and have captured the Georgian town of Sanaki. No mention has been made in the reports of Zugdidi falling, but since it is on the road to Sanaki, it is logical to suppose that it has been taken as well. In any event, if these reports are true, then Russian forces are today at least thirty miles inside Georgia on the Abkhazi front.
On the South Ossetia front, the Russians have not advanced from their overnight positions, and have not cut the main east-west highway, the capture of which would split Georgia in two.
This makes the Sanaki move all the more puzzling, since a drive out of S. Ossetia to capture the city of Gori, and then link up with the forces that have taken Sanaki would leave Russia in control of about a quarter of Georgian territory. However, as things stand, the Russian strategy of advancing our of Abkhazia and holding the line in S. Ossetia seems to be a bit of a puzzle.
Just what the Russian aim is may become clearer as the day goes on, but for the moment I am as bewildered as you are.
Update, 12.35pm: I am no longer bewildered: Sanaki just happens to be the home of Georgia's largest airbase, which the Russians have now occupied. They have also advanced out of South Ossetia and cut the main east-west highway.