Estimated reading time 3 minutes 3 Min

Zelenskiy, Danish PM meet in south Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has visited the southern city of Mykolaiv, with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also arriving at the port.

January 31, 2023
31 January 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has met Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in the southern city of Mykolaiv 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 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.

The Ukrainian president’s visit came as Russian forces claimed incremental gains in the country’s east.

The administrator of Russian-controlled parts of Donetsk province, Denis Pushilin, said troops had secured a foothold in Vuhledar, a coal mining town whose ruins have been a Ukrainian bastion since the outset of the war.

A day earlier, the head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force said his fighters had secured Blahodatne, a village just north of Bakhmut, a city that has been the focus of sustained Russian attacks for months.

Ukraine said it had repelled assaults on Blahodatne and Vuhledar, and Reuters could not independently verify the situations there. 

But the locations of the reported fighting indicated clear, although gradual, Russian gains after about two months in which front lines had largely been frozen in place.

“The situation is very tough. Bakhmut, Vuhledar and other sectors in Donetsk region – there are constant Russian attacks,” Zelenskiy said in a video address late on Sunday.

“The enemy does not count its people and, despite numerous casualties, maintains a high intensity of attacks.”

More in Top Stories