Apparently Russian troops have now nearly taken the city of Gori:
Georgian city of Gori falling to Russian military as territorial crisis spreads beyond breakaway region, Georgian officials say.
This is breaking at CNN.
Aftger the flip more news from the region
So, the Russians have pretty much taken Gori. Here is a map, and as you can see, that is well beyond South Ossetia:
At the same time some reports are saying that Russian troops are advancing from Abkhazia, opening a second front. They now have :
The Georgia Interior Ministry also said Zugdidi and Senaki -- towns near the other breakaway region of Abkhazia -- were also now under Russian control.
And CNN is reporting that the Georgian army is leaving Gori. Apparently the army is unable to stop the Russian advance.
So, what to expect in the next few days? There is a ceasefire proposal from OSCE, but it is likely that Moscow will not accept it. That means the war will continue.
There are some details that worry me, especially this:
Both Georgia and Russia claim that ethnic Georgians and ethnic Russians are wrongly being detained in the conflict over South Ossetia.
This is just my speculation, but i can see no reason why these scenarios cannot happen:
If Georgia loses badly, will they kill some of those civilians? I can see that happening.
Will the Ossetians "revenge" the destruction of the Ossetian capital by killing civilians?
Will the Russians kill Civilains because of poor discipline in the army (like in Checnya)
And if there are foreign mercenaries in Georgia, will they kill civilians (like in Iraq)?
This is one big reason why i would like to see the fighting end soon.
The quickest way is for Saakashvili to resign. He gambled and lost. I don't know why he attacked, he must have known about the Russian 58th army on the other side of the border.
Putin has said the old status quo may not come back. This would mean more Russian troops in South Ossetia. If there is no international agreement on the secession of SOuth Ossetia, then the crisis will continue. A referendum would make sense.
But even then Abkhazia would remain as a problem..
But if there is to be a ceasefire, it is for Moscow to decide when and at what is the price for Georgia to pay.
The lesson seems to be that Russia has a somewhat capable military and apparently they are flexing some muscles. US/EU policy is failing, or at least this is a setback. Clearly the west has been succesfull in advancing into Russian sphere of influence. Now there is some need to reevaluate this policy. Afghanistan and Iraq have depleted some western resources, but how much?
Russia is now stronger than it was during Yeltsin. Of course they are still weak, but now it is time to rethink the policy.
EDIT:Russia has now taken Senaki, that is located in west Georgia
EDIT II: Moscow has rejected the EU/OSCE ceasefire offer. They are saying tha Georgia must negotiate with South Ossetia.
LONDON (Reuters) - Georgia made a strategic miscalculation in trying to rapidly overrun South Ossetia, and as a result has probably lost the region for good, regional analysts say.
While Russian-backed separatists in the breakaway Georgian region helped provoke Georgia into action, it was the belief that its troops could secure a lightning victory that underpinned Georgia's decision to attack.
"The Georgians rolled the dice and they lost," said Michael Denison, an expert in Russian and Eurasian affairs at Chatham House, a London-based security think tank.
"It was not an unreasonable calculation to go for a rapid win, but in the end it was a miscalculation."