WIESBADEN, Germany - The commanding general of U.S. Army Europe, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, is in Ukraine today as part of a trip to meet with Ukraine defense officials and U.S. embassy personnel there ahead of a robust schedule of bilateral and multilateral military partnership exercises and training missions planned for 2015.

The Army Europe commander's trip will include visits with the Ukrainian Minister of Defense and chief of Defense as well as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, to gain a better understanding of the security situation in Ukraine. Ukraine has been a military partner of the U.S. dating back to the mid 1990s.

At an Army leadership forum conducted in Wiesbaden, Jan. 13-14, Hodges commented on the strategic importance of U.S. forces forward-stationed in Europe.

"Everything that happens in this part of the world the U.S. Army in Europe is part of that," said Hodges, addressing U.S. Army leaders gathered for the event. "It's exercises, it's relationships, it's capabilities, networks and allies and it is what enables our president to assure allies and deter potential threats."

The general's visit will also include a press engagement at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center in Kiev, scheduled for 4:30-5:30 p.m. local.

Hodges finished a similar visit in Latvia yesterday. Latvia and Ukraine are part of U.S. Army Europe's 51-country area of responsibility.

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About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.