Nicolas Tonev / Photo credit: INA FASSBENDER / AFP 10:39 a.m., February 28, 2024

Only 80 km from Ukraine is Rzeszow, a Polish town that has become in two years the essential access point for Western civil and military aid to fight against the Russian invasion.

Some 80% of men and equipment pass through there, thanks to its international airport. 

France should produce 4,000 to 5,000 shells per month by the end of the year for Ukraine, according to Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu.

Ammunition which will pass through Poland and the city of Rzeszow where 80% of Western aid passes.

Its small international airport is the closest to Ukraine, making it the war's fortified logistics rear base.

The concrete walls and barbed wire conceal nothing: the 8 batteries of Patriots raise their missiles towards the sky on the east side of the landing strip of more than 3 kilometers.

The objective is to protect this increasingly strategic airport from any Russian air attack.


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A long-term military presence

On the tarmac, sand-colored American trucks and Bradley armored personnel carriers meet.

The equipment visible, the rest is hidden under gigantic light brown inflatable tents.

The civil terminal and its toy-style control tower become anecdotal.

Cargo planes follow one another with Boeing 747s or imposing olive green C17s from the Air Force.

Like gnats next to giants, private ambulance planes are taking off for medical evacuations from Ukraine.

On the access ring road, military semi-trailers.

The airport and the city are no longer just for civilians, the growing number of American soldiers, estimated at 5,000 to 10,000, are now deployed in the surrounding area.

A military presence which is only increasing, and should be made to last.