Tensions In Georgia The situation in the Republic of Georgia is heating up. Everyday life is becoming increasingly difficult. Ketevan Vatiashvili, a civilian who was in the Russian occupied city of Gori Wednesday, discusses the situation.
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Tensions In Georgia

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Tensions In Georgia

Tensions In Georgia

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From the studios of NPR West, this is Day to Day. I'm Alex Chadwick.


I'm Madeleine Brand. Russia is withdrawing from Georgia proper but will keep peacekeeping forces in Georgia's two breakaway republics, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. That declaration came from Russian President Dimitri Medvedev today.

CHADWICK: Even so, relations between Russia and the U.S. remain strained.

BRAND: Today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Pentagon is going to re-examine its relations with Russia.

Mr. ROBERT GATES (Defense Secretary): If Russia does not step back from its aggressive posture and actions in Georgia, the U.S.-Russian relationship could be adversely affected for years to come.

BRAND: Secretary Gates did say he did not see the need for military action there.

CHADWICK: There are also reports that Russian troops continue to destroy airstrips and other military infrastructure in Georgia. This in an attempt to cripple the Georgian military for any future conflict. We have an account now from an eyewitness in Georgia.

BRAND: Ketevan Vatiashvili is in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, where she has fled from her native town of Gori. She's on the line now. And tell us, what did you see in Gori before you left?

Ms. KETEVAN VATIASHVILI (Eyewitness in Georgia): I was there when the city was bombed. I tried to - not to stay at home and to go out to see with my own eyes what was going there because there were lots of rumors. Yes, I see there was a lot of bombs like lots of main places, the post office, the university, different places were bombed. Most shops were closed. People were in panic, can't get home, and most people managed to leave the town.

BRAND: So you left, but I understand your parents are still there. Have you heard from them?

Ms. VATIASHVILI: Yes, I have. They said they're OK as long as the troops haven't entered the house. They were knocking, and they didn't open, and they left. We don't know what will happen next. But so far, they are at home. They cannot leave their houses.

BRAND: Are you worried for your parents and for your friends there?

Ms. VATIASHVILI: Of course I'm worried about my parents, but in Gori, there are more than my parents. I mean, lots of people are there and lots of people died, our friend, our neighbor, so on and so on. Some of them were just kind of killed because of some bombs, and some people were just killed by other soldiers. So it's very, very kind of disappointing situation, the whole country, but we try to support one another. The government tries their best to kind of help.

BRAND: Well, the Russian troops seem to have firm control over Gori, if they - if they're there for a while, what will you do?

Ms. VATIASHVILI: As far as I know, they kind of had an order. They were told to leave today, but they, I think, changed their minds because they are still there. As far what I can do, I mean, I can't do a lot right now besides just kind of trying to calm people down, not to panic and just to help by providing some food or just clothes and so on and so on. I don't think I can do anything else right now as a citizen.

BRAND: Are you worried that your family will run out of food and other supplies?

Ms. VATIASHVILI: Actually, yes. But, I mean, it's just a few days, so they can find something at home, I guess. But I'm more worried about the country because it's in region, and we really never know what will happen next.

BRAND: Ketevan Vatiashvili speaking to us from Tbilisi, Georgia, a native of Gori. Thank you very much.

Ms. VATIASHVILI: OK. Thank you.

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