Zelenskiy visits southern Ukraine, meets Danish prime minister

KYIV, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in the southern city of Mykolaiv on Monday during a rare visit by a foreign leader to a region close to the war front.

Video footage posted online by Zelenskiy's office showed the president greeting Frederiksen with a handshake on a snowy street before entering a hospital where they met soldiers wounded in Russia's invasion.

"It is important for our warriors to be able to undergo not only physical, but also psychological rehabilitation," Zelenskiy wrote on the Telegram messaging app. "I am grateful to all the medical workers who care about the health of our defenders. I wish them a speedy recovery!"

The two leaders also visited the Mykolaiv Commercial Sea Port, where they saw oil storage tanks hit by Russian enemy missiles and drones, and a heating point equipped with a water purification and distribution unit under a project implemented with Danish assistance.

Zelenskiy thanked Frederiksen for the assistance provided by Denmark, whose defence ministry said earlier this month that the country would donate 19 French-made Caesar howitzer artillery systems to Ukraine.

The president said he had also met local officials while in Mykolaiv region, which has frequently been under attack by Russian forces since the invasion 11 months ago.

"The region is heroically withstanding all the attacks of the terrorists (Russian forces). During the visit, I held a meeting on the current situation in the region," he wrote.

"We discussed the operational situation in the south of Ukraine, the consequences of Russia's missile and drone attacks."

Talks also covered the state of the region's energy infrastructure and the region's long-term recovery, Zelenskiy said.

Later in the day, the two leaders held a news conference in the neighbouring southern city of Odesa, where Zelenskiy warned of a potential looming assault by Moscow as its invasion of Ukraine approaches the one-year anniversary.

“I think that Russia really wants its big revenge. I think they have (already) started it. I think they won’t be able to bring back a positive result for their own society," Zelenskiy told reporters.

"I think that bit by bit we will stop them, destroy them, and prepare our big counter-offensive,” he said.

Zelenskiy said Russia was not ceasing its attacks on the front lines in eastern Ukraine, and pouring in more fighters from the Wagner group, a Russian private military company.

“Every day they either bring in more of their regular troops, or we see an increase in the number of Wagnerites.”

Reporting by Max Hunder; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Timothy Heritage and Jonathan Oatis

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