After nearly a week of intense bombing by Russian warplanes, residents in the capital of breakaway Chechnya rummaged among the ruins Sunday for food and shelter.

Heavy fighting was reported in villages outside the besieged city, Grozny, but the vastly outnumbered Chechens showed no sign of capitulating. Russian jets returned late in the day and bombed Grozny.In Moscow, senior members of the Russian government met ahead of a key session of President Boris Yeltsin's Security Council scheduled for Monday.

The invasion has cost Yeltsin public support and the backing of many of his pro-reform allies.

Moscow sent up to 40,000 troops into the southern republic two weeks ago to quash the Chechens' independence bid, for fear it could encourage other regions of Russia to secede. Chechnya, a mostly Muslim republic of 1.2 million in southern Russia, declared independence in 1991.

The press service of the Russian government reported fierce clashes on Sunday near Argun, nine miles east of Grozny, the Interfax and ITAR-Tass news agencies said.

More then 1,000 Chechen fighters were killed in the operation, the government said. The report could not be independently confirmed, and there was no word on Russian casualties.

In Grozny, few people were on the streets of the ruined city. Some struggled to unearth belongings from the rubble, others foraged for food and still others, their homes in ruins, sought new shelter.

Chechen leaders say hundreds of people have been killed in the fighting. Tens of thousands have fled the city of 400,000 since the Russian invasion began.

Much of the capital was without electricity or heat on Sunday. Telephones worked sporadically. Already short of power, hospitals were running out of medicine and bandages.

Many residents have huddled in basements for days as Russian fighter-bombers and helicopter gunships bombed and strafed their city.