The fighting continues in and around Grozny, with Russian warplanes and artillery pounding rebel forces.

But so far the Russian attack has failed to dislodge the Chechen fighters. It's estimated there are about 8,000 rebels inside the city, and they are vowing to fight to the last man.

  • VIEWPOINT: Elizabeth Palmer in Chechnya

The Russian general staff has repeated its warning to the Chechen leadership - lay down your arms and turn over the guerrilla leaders, or face destruction.

Russian warplanes and helicopters are reported to have flown 60 missions over the past day, attacking rebel positions in and around the capital.

Military reports claim the Russian forces have struck hard against the rebel forces; destroying a guerrilla base, knocking out anti-aircraft guns and an armoured column.

Thousands of civilians still remain in Grozny. Reports say the city is without heat and there is little food.