Russian military commanders say that the Chechen capital, Grozny, is almost entirely surrounded, as Chechen officials reported intense overnight bombardment. The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, has again rejected calls for a halt to the offensive, insisting that it is an operation against terrorists.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, has ended a visit to Russia by calling for improved conditions for the estimated 200-thousand Chechen refugees who have fled to neighbouring Ingushetia. Aid organisations say that Ingushetia needs a huge injection of outside help to take care of the refugees.