Ex-soldiers, defense officials from Ukraine visiting Modesto. Reception is open to public.

A delegation from Ukraine, mostly military people and veterans, is in the midst of a weeklong visit to Modesto and other stops in the region.

Modesto Sister Cities International is hosting the group, which includes soldiers, former soldiers, government defense officials and advocates for veterans.

The Modesto Sister Cities program said the goal is to deepen cooperation and understanding between the United States and Ukraine, a country that has battled for its survival against the Russian invasion.

Modesto has maintained a sister city relationship with Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine, since 1987. The visitors from Ukraine have been scheduled for meetings with city of Modesto, the Modesto Irrigation District, Stanislaus State University, the California National Guard in Sacramento and Stanford University.

A public reception is set for Thursday at the Mistlin Gallery, 1015 J St., from 5 to 7 p.m. Promoters said it’s an opportunity to meet with friends from Ukraine who are fighting for their freedom and democracy in Eastern Europe. People planning to attend are asked to RSVP to modesto.msci@gmail.com.

Donations from Modesto folks have helped to purchase skylights to protect Khmelnytskyi from nighttime drone attacks, delivered food to the war front and supplied tourniquets and other necessities.

The group’s visit to Modesto is sponsored by the Open World Program of the Congressional Office of International Leadership.